Willis garnered attention in her early twenties, bringing classic heartbroken honkey-tonk twang vocals into a country scene that had grown over-glossed. She fit right in with the burgeoning new Americana movement with covers of country classics like the Kendalls' "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" and Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues," which she performed with Son Volt.
In those same years, Robison was making a name for himself as a musician, but also as a songwriter, penning big Nashville hits for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ("Angry All the Time") and the Dixie Chicks ("Traveling Soldier") while keeping his own performances more rooted in the classic Texas sound that's dominated his musical family. In the meantime Willis and Robison have parented four kids, recorded separately, toured together, took hiatuses and have created their own version of the Texas troubadour family. It's a new tradition that harkens the classics -- rumbling guitar, the whine of pedal-steel guitar and vocal harmonies honed from two decades of lives entwined.
All photos by Caroline Philippone.