Country music is filled with wonderful duets – some to break your heart, and others to make you fall deeper in love. In this list, we’ve tracked down some of the most iconic and hard-hitting country duets of all time.
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream
No country duet playlist would be complete without one of the most popular one in the entire genre. Originally written by The Bee Gees as an R&B song, Islands in the Stream went on to be one of the biggest country hits of 1985. It topped the Hot 100 Billboard Charts, the Country Billboard Charts, and the Adult Contemporary Billboard charts. It also went on the be the 1985 American Music Awards winner for Favorite Country Single.
Favorite lines: Islands in the stream that is what we are. No one in-between, how can we be wrong? Sail away with me to another world, and we rely on each other, ah-ah. From one lover to another, ah-ah.
Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow – Picture
Country music always has a way of expressing a simple sentiment through great storytelling. In this song, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow play the parts of two lovers who have broken up. However, when they find each other’s picture again, they start to realize how great their relationship was. And so they end up trying to reconcile.
Favorite lines: I saw you yesterday with an old friend. It was the same old same how have you been. Since you’ve been gone my world’s been dark and grey. You reminded me of brighter days. I hoped you were coming home to stay. I was headed to church. I was off to drink you away.
Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash – Jackson
Jackson may well be one of the most wildly popular songs from country music’s most beloved couples. This lively song is about a couple whose marriage started off with a fiery passion. However, as the years pass, they have lost the passion in their relationship, and thus they head off to Jackson, Mississippi to revive their fire.
Favorite lines: Well now, we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout. We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out. I’m goin’ to Jackson, and that’s a fact. Yeah, we’re goin’ to Jackson, ain’t never comin’ back.
Jonnhy Cash and June Carter-Cash – I Walk the Line
Along with Jackson, no country duet list would be complete without one of their most beautiful hits. The song is about Johnny Cash’s rock n’ roll lifestyle, but with a promise to remain faithful to his wife. Oddly enough, one of the Cash couple’s most famous hits was actually written for Johnny Cash’s first wife, Vivian.
Favorite lines: As sure as night is dark and day is light. I keep you on my mind both day and night. And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right. Because you’re mine, I walk the line.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill – I Need You
For many duet songs, harmonizing is the aim as two voices touch and bring an ethereal quality to the song. However, for this song, Tim McGraw insisted that he and Faith Hill should tradie lines while singing. He says, “I thought that would be cool if we sang a love song without our voices ever touching. It just kind of creates some tension. And she did a beautiful job on it.”
Favorite lines: I wanna drink that shot of whiskey. I wanna smoke that cigarette. You know some cowboys like me go out like that. So I need you, whoa I need you. I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill – It’s Your Love
As the more modern version of June and Johnny Cash, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have also made a collection of beautiful duets. When this song was just being penned, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were still only dating. But even then, McGraw already knew that there would be no other person he wanted to perform this duet with.
Favorite lines: It’s your love. It just does something to me. It sends a shock right through me. I can’t get enough. And if you wonder about the spell I’m under. Oh it’s your love.
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood – Remind Me
This might just be one of the most powerful love songs of the year when it came out in 2011. Remind Me is somewhat like a modern version of June and Johnny Carter’s Jackson. In the song, a couple wants to reignite their passion for each other from their early days together. And like the song I Need You, it’s a couple trading lines to create a full picture of their situation.
Favorite lines: Now we keep saying that we’re OK. But I don’t want to settle for good, not great. I miss the way that it felt back then. I wanna feel that way again. Been so long that you’d forget the way I used to kiss your neck. Remind me, remind me. So on fire, so in love, way back when we couldn’t get enough. Remind me, remind me.
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
What’s a more profound way of saying you miss someone? Need You Now is the song that propelled Lady Antebellum to fame because of how poignantly it captures the mutual longing couples feel when they realize that they shouldn’t have broken up.
Favorite lines: Guess I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all. It’s a quarter after one, I’m all alone and I need you now. And I said I wouldn’t call but I’m a little drunk and I need you now. And I don’t know how I can do without, I just need you now. I just need you now.
Kenny Chesney and Pink – Setting the World on Fire
You probably wouldn’t think to see a country singer and a punk-rock pop star to be sharing the mic, but this is proof that it makes for a beautiful song. The song was inspired by the experience of co-writer Josh Osborne. He remembers just winning a Grammy Award and partying the night away. He wanted to commemorate that moment in his mind by writing this song.
Favorite lines: Up all night and we were feelin’ so good. Yeah, we got a little higher than we probably should. We were in a hotel singin’ in the hallway lights. We were strikin’ the matches right down to the ashes. Setting the world on fire, setting the world on fire.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood – In Another’s Eyes
This is the song that made song critics wish that Brooks and Yearwood would collaborate more often. The song is about how two people are perceived by others. They’re often seen as upstart people, practically picture perfect. But the reality is that the two singers are cheating on their partners with each other, something that’s eating away at their souls.
Favorite lines: And what they don’t see is killing me. It’s a blessing and a curse that love is blind. ‘Cause in another’s eyes, I’m afraid that I can’t see this picture perfect portrait that they paint of me. And they don’t realize and I pray to God they never do. ‘Cause every time I look, I’m seein’ you in another’s eyes.
Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood – And I’ll Always Love You
Yes, this song was originally recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973, years before Whitney Houston made her own version of the song. However, while Dolly’s original version may have been beautiful and sweet and heartfelt, there’s a certain effortless grace that comes with these two country singers that give this song an even more beautiful feel.
Favorite lines: I hope life treats you kind. And I hope that you have all that you ever dreamed of. And I wish you joy and happiness. But above all of this, I wish you love. And I will always love you.
Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter – You and Tequila
When you’re trying to drown away the bitterness of fighting with someone 00still love, there are times when you inevitably link drinking and that person together. In this case, Chesney and Potter associate each other with tequila.
Favorite lines: Thirty days and thirty nights been putting up a real good fight. And there were times I thought you’d win. It’s so easy to forget the bitter taste the morning left. Swore I wouldn’t go back there again. ‘Cause you and tequila make me crazy. Run like poison in my blood. One more night could kill me, baby. One is one too many, one more is never enough.
Chris Young and Cassadee Pope – Think Of You
Co-producer Corey Crowder was the one who came up with the idea for the song. It’s about how two people have become inextricably linked because of how long they used to be together. In Crowder’s case, the idea came up when he wondered what he and his wife (whom he had been with since he was 16) would be up to if they had broken up somewhere along the way.
Favorite lines: We used to be the life of the party. We used to be the ones that they wished they were. But now it’s like they don’t know how to act. Maybe they’re like me and they want us back. It’s like there’s always an empty space. Those memories that nobody can erase of how bright we burned. Well now it hurts, but it’s true. When they think of me, they think of you.
Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift – Highway Don’t Care
Taylor Swift may have moved on to a more pop sound, but she never completely abandoned her country roots. This song, which plays much like a PSA, is about the dangers of texting while driving.
Favorite lines: I bet you got a dead cell phone in your shotgun seat. Yeah, I bet you’re bending God’s ear talking ’bout me. You’re trying not to let the first tear fall out, trying not to think about turning around. You’re trying not to get lost in the sound but that song is always on, so you sing along.
Loretta Lynn and Jack White – Portland, Oregon
When a rock artist and producer team up with a country legend, the result is an eerie yet beautiful country-rock mix that you’ll probably never hear again. And it definitely fit with the theme of the song, which is about being drunk and falling in love in Portland, Oregon.
Favorite lines: Well, Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz. If that ain’t love, then tell me what is. Well I lost my heart, it didn’t take no time. But that ain’t all, I lost my mind in Oregon.
Which of these country duets really hit home for you? Tell us all about it in the comments below!