Extraordinarily talented on their own, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison prove themselves greater together than apart on Cheater's Game. Of the disc's 13 songs, six are Robison originals and the rest are covers of songs from well-respected writers like Don Williams, Dave Alvin, and Robert Earl Keen. Not only do we get a glimpse of Robison's uncommon talent with lyric and melody, we hear him tackle tunes like "Border Radio" and "No Kinda Dancer" with Kelly's creative touch and self-assurance. One song, the Jedd Hughes/Robison composition "But I Do," finds them stepping out of their individual comfort zones and into a banjo-driven duet that's just as much George Jones and Tammy Wynette as it is John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Two songs somewhat buried at disc's end, the moonlit "Waterfall" and velvety "Dreamin'," which could have come from the Everly Brothers, spotlight all the many talents on display here, but none are more special than the chemistry Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison bring to their brand of country music.
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