How come there haven’t been more successful female singing duos in country music?
Maddie & Tae’s long-awaited, highly-anticipated album drops at the end of the week. The talented twosome has already been nominated as the ACM’s Best Vocal Duo of the Year, scored a No. 1 hit with “Girl In A Country Song” and their latest single “Fly” is flying up the charts.
Maddie & Tae seem poised to be the next big country music female duo since…could it be the Judds?
Singing duos certainly have long been popular in country music. There were those classic pairings like George & Tammy and Porter & Dolly. Two-man bands (Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn and more recently Florida Georgia Line), have been successes and so have guy/girl pairings (Sugarland, Thompson Square and the Civil Wars). There have even been some successful female trios (Dixie Chicks, Pistol Annies), but not duos.
Here are a handful of female duos who sparked on the Nashville, Tenn. scene, since the Judds were a dominant twosome in the late ‘80s, but without achieving lasting success.
Mary Ann Kennedy and Pam Rose teamed up to form Kennedy Rose in the late ‘80s. They put out a pair of albums on I.R.S. Records (yes, the same label as R.E.M. and the Go-Go’s) in 1989 and 1994 but found more success as songwriters for others. They earned Grammy nominations for their tunes “I’ll Still Be Loving You” and “Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands”.
Sweethearts of the Rodeo
This twosome ranks as the second most successful female duo in the last 30 years. Sisters Janis and Kristine Oliver, who were discovered by Emmylou Harris, had more than a handful of Top 10 singles in the late ‘80s and got 9 CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Award nominations. While they’re still performing together, the sisters have only put out one album since 1996. Janis, by the way, was Vince Gill’s wife before he married Amy Grant.
Peggy and Patsy Lynn certainly had a powerful musical pedigree, as they are daughters of the legendary Loretta Lynn. Their career began with a lot of potential – receiving CMA nominations for Vocal Duo of the Year in 1998 and 1999 – but little has been heard from them since.
The Wreckers – Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp – seemed headed for stardom. Their first single “Leave The Pieces” hit No. 1 in 2006 and their second “My Oh My” landed in the Top 10 too. They received multiple nominations from the CMAs and the ACMs as well as a Grammy Award nomination, and then what happened? Nothing, because they broke up in 2008 to have solo careers, which wasn’t too surprising since Branch had a solo career before that.
The JaneDear Girls
Susie Brown and Danelle Leverett’s partnership as the JaneDear Girls followed a familiar trajectory. They released a single in 2010. The song “Wildflower” became a hit, which earned them an ACM Vocal Duo nomination. They put out a CD in 2011 (produced by John Rich of the duo Big & Rich) and they split in 2012 to go their separate ways professionally.
Here’s hoping that Maddie & Tae’s career lasts just a little longer than these acts.