I don't always love country duets. But when I do love them, it's because of five pretty hard-and-fast rules:
1. The two voices are so completely distinctive, if you heard even three seconds of the song, you'd know exactly who was singing.
2. The two singers sound perfect together as well as apart.
3. The lyrics and the melody are extremely well-crafted.
4. It reminds me of the country music I used to know.
5. It leaves me hoping that the two singers will make this duet their first of many.
And because it meets all my expectations -- and more -- for a solid duet, I am in love with "Old Habits," Justin Moore's duet with Miranda Lambert on his new album, Off the Beaten Path. In a recent radio interview, Moore admitted the collaboration almost didn't happen.
"I called ... and she didn't answer," he said. "I emailed her, and she didn't respond. And I called her about a week later and hooked up with her and said, 'Hey, I got this song. You need to hear it. You need to do it with me. ... And she listened to it and called me back and said, 'Wow, that's a great song. I'm in.' For her to take time out of her busy schedule to do that is really cool."
Moore heard something special in "Old Habits."
"The songwriters didn't write it to be a duet, and I've never actively looked for a song that could be a duet," he said. "I just heard it as a duet right away. I only heard her singing it."
Moore has been tweeting a little about the song, so maybe it will end up as his next single.
"'Old Habits' might be the most country thing I've ever cut!" he wrote. He also tweeted, "Told @mirandalambert she'd want to cut #OldHabits. She agreed. Maybe she should listen to me & @blakeshelton more."