(AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file)
With "Duets," the big-voiced Oklahoma redhead does just that. Besides the expected country partners -- Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and Rascal Flatts among them -- McEntire joins forces with everyone from pop stars Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson to classic rocker Don Henley to veteran singer-songwriter Carole King.
To her credit, McEntire challenges herself by pairing with several strong female voices, and the settings only prove how exquisitely expressive and powerful her voice can be. She brings in Kelly Clarkson for a lush, countrified remake of "Because of You," trades verses with LeAnn Rimes on the emotional tour-de-force "When You Love Someone Like That," then matches up perfectly with Trisha Yearwood on the moody "She Can't Save Him," the latter about a lover realizing she can't make her partner stop destroying himself unless he recognizes his problem.
Still, the best moments are more subtle, as when Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn waltzes with her through the twangy "Does the Wind Still Blow in Oklahoma?" and when yet another Okie, Vince Gill, brings out McEntire's tender side on "These Broken Hearts."
-- The Associated Press