No lyrics about drinking beer. No mention of a dirt road or sliding on over in the seat of a truck. No tailgates. No tan lines. No partying down all night long. And, listen up Maddie and Tae fans, the girl in these country songs does get respect — a lot of it.
I’m talking about the new album by country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White, of country music’s The Whites. The duo is also husband and wife, celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary recently. In September, they released their first studio album together, “Hearts Like Ours.”
In 1987, they won a CMA Vocal Duo of the Year award for “Love Can’t Ever Get Better Than This,” but because they were on competing labels, an album wasn’t possible. The idea simmered on the back burner until now. And that duet is one of the tracks on “Hearts Like Ours.”
In a phone interview earlier this year, Ricky talked about the album, describing it as “acoustic with a splash of electric” that will highlight Sharon’s voice, which he said is “gorgeous.”
If you are an old-style country music fan, then this album is for you. If you and your mate have hearts like theirs, then “Hearts Like Ours” is for you.
The songs they selected express their commitment to each other and speak of their faith and hope. One of my favorite tracks is “When I’m Good and Gone” (Leslie Satcher and Buddy Jewell), ” It’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, in a good way. I find myself humming that one throughout the day … and “Home is Wherever You Are” (Wayland Patton) … “of all the things I’m still learning if home is where your heart is then my home is with you.” That’s a dance-around-the-kitchen-with-my-husband kind of song.
The title track was written by Connie Smith and Marty Stuart.
“‘Hearts Like Ours'” is a dream come true for Sharon and I,” says Ricky. “Being married for 33 years, you really get to know someone’s heart. I know hers and she knows mine, and you can hear that on this CD. I loved getting to work with her.”
“We tried to choose songs that express our hearts for each other and hopefully they will bless other folks, too,” they write in the liner notes.
“No Doubt About It” (Seth Justman and Peter Wolf) brings the fiddle (Andy Leftwich) and mandolin (Ricky Skaggs) of bluegrass to the album.
“If I Needed You” (Townes Van Zandt) is a song they sang to each other at their wedding. “Be Kind” (Brian Morykon) speaks of how we need to be with each other and “Jesus will show you how … You are the only one who has loved with a perfect love.”
Sharon says the timing was right for the album. “I think our hearts are in the right place to do this now. It was great to pick songs together and share ideas about how we wanted to do them. I have always enjoyed making music with Ricky so this album is the fulfillment of a dream of my heart.” Sharon and Ricky also produced the album. Son Luke Skaggs plays the guitar solo on “Home is Wherever You Are.” Ricky plays at least one instrument on every track.
Rating (1 to 5): 5