Although it is no secret that Emmylou Harris is one of the modern era's most prolific guest vocalists, it's only when you see her appearances laid out one after the other that you realize just how many other performers have called upon her over the years – a gamut that runs from Linda Ronstadt to Little Feat, from Bob Dylan to Bonnie Raitt.
The Traveling Kind follows the longtime friends' first duet album, 2013's Old Yellow Moon, which won Best Americana Album at the 56th annual Grammy Awards as well as two awards at the 2013 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards Show, for Album of the Year and Duo/Group of the Year. The album also debuted at #4 on the Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Henry (Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann), The Traveling Kind comprises 11 duet tracks, including six new songs written by Harris and Crowell with co-writing by Mary Carr, Cory Chisel, Will Jennings, and Larry Klein. Also featured are new renditions of previous Crowell cuts including "No Memories Hanging Around" as well as new interpretations of Lucinda Williams' "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad" and Amy Allison's "Her Hair Was Red."
It's difficult to write about Emmylou Harris without lapsing into a long train of superlatives – she really does have one of the most beautiful voices of her generation, and her taste in material and skill in using her instrument is nearly faultless. However, as good as Harris is and as consistently strong as her body of work has been, one could make a convincing argument that she's been frequently underrated through much of her career – more than just a lovely woman with a pure, clear voice and a fine ear, she's championed a number of gifted songwriters before they went on to have distinguished careers of their own (from Rodney Crowell to Gillian Welch), matured into a first-rate tunesmith herself, collaborated with a remarkable array of artists, and has never been afraid to take her talents into unexpected directions, from purist bluegrass to the experimental atmospherics of her work with Daniel Lanois.