These two guys, late Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson are undoubtedly heavy weights in the arena of country music and folk songs, therefore 大侠 Da Xia [Mandarin] could be the most suitable "Pronoun" for them! 大侠 shall mean "Heroes" in English. Somehow or rather, I sensed their eminence and they have me inspired when I first saw this album, more so after I have been soaking in the abundance of musicality for many years!
”Storytellers” is a live album which generally captures duets followed with alternating solos of both big guys to complement each other. There are also some solo tracks presented by each though guitar accompaniments have come from both in most tracks, if not all provided I may recall. In fact, there is nothing more than two guitars and two stools, as far as I know.
With a backdrop of venue noise cheered with handclap, Cash and Nelson open with short introductions spelling out their names respectively. Even with such quick and plain self-introductions, their "golden" voices do promise "golden vocals" and consequentially superb music! They proceed to duet a track titled "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky... Yipie I Oh Yipie I Ay, Ghost riders in the sky... Hey hey, have you not been able to recall it still? Besides the opening track, I take the opportunity to list out other tracks I particularly like:
Flesh and Blood
I Still Miss Someone
Always On My Mind
On the Road Again
These big guys duet in their very own and natural styles, at some points they are seemingly slower by a quarter to half a beat yet still musically natural, but sometimes a little faster either here or there. Never mind as confidently I think since no one would nitpick on these imperfect yet musical "ingredients" which help showcase interesting sonic live scenes!
As usual like any other live album, in between any two tracks of "Story Tellers", they talk/chat/laugh rather casually, joke at times as if there are no other people around. Or perhaps, the audience could be taken as their closest friends listening to their casual dialogues and enjoying their performances. From the dialogues/chats/talks/jokes/laughter and intense "duet-ness" perceived, what could be underlying if not steadily closed and long established friendship? This I must assure you!!!
The recordings are of high standards, two big guys are psycho acoustically projected as if they are seated on stools diagonally few feet apart in the soundstage. The album is very seriously recorded but the natural ambiance is well captured with good feel of brotherly intimacy! From the hifi-ability aspect, if one knows it is challenging to reproduce good images out of baritone vocals, probably I do not have to say more in here but check it out yourself.
Much perceived impromptu duet-ness is fueled by their vast spontaneity, as the performances of this "Story Tellers" album have been intended to be unplanned; I opine that success has clearly marked! Let’s wish to have more successful live performances as performing art has much much more to offer than studio recordings do.