We Still Love Our Country
Ninth Street Opus

We Still Love Our Country finds Carrie Rodriguez teaming up with Ben Kyle, the Belfast-born frontman of the Midwestern alt-country band Romantica, for an album of duets that hark back to the classic country pairings of Loretta and Conway and Dolly and Porter. Most of the tunes are covers, but they make them all their own. Towns Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You” sounds as melancholy as the original; John Prine’s “Unwed Fathers” is delivered with beautiful harmonies that temper the lyric’s bitter irony; and “Love Hurts” is taken at a somber tempo with aching harmony vocals that’ll make grown men cry. The two originals here as just as good as the oldies. Kyle’s “Your Lonely Heart” is an optimistic love song suggesting a one-night stand might lead to a life-long love. It’s got a catchy melody with Rodriguez adding some sprightly fiddle to the mix. And the Rodriguez/Kyle co-write, “Fire Alarm,” is a flirtatious duet with a playful lyric and, thanks to their vocals, plenty of sizzle. — J. POET