The perks of duos or groups in music over just a single artist is the extra creative minds available for the musical output. Two people working together to write songs for their album or a group coming together to compose a musical arrangement for the songs. Sometimes this creative group process can allow the group to rise above the creativity of just one in order to create something great.
We covered several groups and duos this year, but these are the five we felt had the most impact on country music and Americana music this year. Their musical quality and the impact these groups and duos had on the musical culture helped land them on this list. Josh and I will come to a winning decision together, but reader feedback and insight will be taken into consideration. So please comment below and voice your thoughts on who should be Country Perspective’s 2015 Group or Duo of the Year!
Duo/Group of the Year Nominees (in no particular order)
This Oklahoma based Red Dirt band released their newest album this year to high critical acclaim. Their album is nominated for Album of the Year here at Country Perspective, and they also have a Song of the Year nomination with “The Bird Hunters.” The band maintains a steady tour schedule and has dedicated fan base that’s grown from the love of music. Turnpike Troubadours haven’t dipped their feet in mainstream culture; they do their music on their own and in their own way.
Maddie & Tae
After bursting onto the scene last year with “Girl in a Country Song” Maddie & Tae solidified their commitment to making country music with their follow-up singles. Their debut single topped the Airplay Chart late last year, and their second single, “Fly” worked its way to the top ten of the same chart this year. Sharp, witty lyrics and plenty of fiddle are found all over the place in their debut album, Start Here. The album received high praise from us back in August. Maddie & Tae are a bright spot in mainstream country, keeping traditional sounds alive and still finding success in the modern country culture. If mainstream country shifts back toward more traditional leaning sounds, Maddie & Tae are one act of a few to thank for their commitment.
This Indiana Americana/rock band quietly released one of the best records of 2015. Little Neon Limelight, the bands second album, was highly praised on Country Perspective for their dynamic vocals and flawless harmonies. The album flows well and the lyrics are sharp. Little Neon Limelight is up for Album of the Year as well. While Houndmouth may not be country music, we do cater towards some folk rock and Americana on Country Perspective, and Houndmouth has certainly released one of the most impressive albums within that lens.
Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen
“I don’t have hits; I’ve got standards!” Those seven words from this duo’s first single say it all. It drew praise from thousands of country fans tired of mainstream’s move to bro-country and R&B. Many people initially thought Hold My Beer was simply going to be a record much like Randy and Wade’s tour of the same name: the two men singing their songs in a song swap show. Instead we were surprised with a record of ten true country songs the two Texas singers recorded as duets. Several original songs and a few great covers, Hold My Beer is nominated for Country Perspective’s Album of the Year, as well as producing two singles, “Standards” and “El Dorado” that are both up for Song of the Year.
These Georgia southern-rockers had one of the best southern rock albums this year with Holding All The Roses. The album found still found its way to the top of the country album charts soon after its release. Holding All The Roses is full of true southern rock sounds along with a country song or two that would fit right in with the Outlaw sounds of the 70s. Blackberry Smoke seemingly called out against mainstream radio and shady record execs in a few of the albums songs. The band has made a strong name for itself through their tireless own touring efforts too.