If Austin’s happily egalitarian music scene suddenly switched to a monarchy, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis might have to learn to perform while balancing hefty crowns. The two already reign as one of Americana music’s coolest couples, and their latest release, Our Year, elevates them closer to the lofty territory once occupied by beloved royals Johnny ’n’ June and George ’n’ Tammy.
As the adage goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Husband-and-wife team Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis follow up 2013's successful duet album Cheater's Game with Our Year. Their approach is as timeless as the pairing of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Robison's and Willis' songs stack up with the legendary tunes they've cut here. On Walter Hyatt's rambling four/four country rocker "Motor City Man," Willis' lead vocal digs deep into the swinging groove with Robison picking up the slack in harmony as Robison's bluesy harmonica fills the tags. The deep roots reading of Tom T. Hall's "Harper Valley P.T.A." — made a honky tonk classic by Jeannie C. Riley — finds Willis' lead vocal earthier, less sassy, and more authoritative, underscored by Robison's more plaintive support. The closer "This Will Be Our Year," by Chris White, highlights everything that makes these two voices resonate: both are understated; able to make emotional depth come forth without acrobatics or added drama. Their individual and shared timbres highlight the subtle graces and truths in the best country songs. And while both are strong singers individually, as a duet, they are a powerhouse.
A native Texan now calling Nashville home, singer-songwriter Ben Danaher captivates his listeners with raw lyrics and delicate instrumentation. Taking notes from the greats like Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Darrell Scott and Buddy Miller, Ben created his own sound mixing elements from Country, Blues, and Americana to help illustrate his stories. Brought up in a musical family in Texas, Ben started writing songs in high school and playing gigs with his father who was also a songwriter.
Quickly realizing his love for sharing his stories with people, Ben made the move to Austin to pursue music. While living in Austin, Ben toured over 150 shows a year opening for artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Hal Ketchum, Jack Ingram, Shawn Mullins, Rhett Miller, Angaleena Presley, and Pat Green. After finishing those tours, Ben’s passion for songwriting lead him to make the decision to leave Austin and move to Nashville.
Making Nashville his home, Ben got with producer Reid Scelza(Killing Uncle Buzzy-Travis Meadows) and released his EP, Starting Over, in June 2013 and toured with Amanda Shires (2014), Steve Moakler (2015) and Sean McConnell. Along with releasing his debut EP, Ben has co-written many songs for artists like Ryan Beaver, Bonnie Bishop, Rob Baird, Justin Halpin with songs being featured in shows like “The Ranch” on Netflix and “Nashville” on CMT.