Although the work of new traditionalist singer/songwriter Kelly Willis earned widespread critical acclaim, she found little in the way of comparable commercial success; her sound, a smart hybrid of country and rock, simply assimilated both musical styles too well to gain acceptance in either camp. While the '90s drew to a close, Willis inked a deal with Rykodisc. Her fourth album, What I Deserve, appeared in 1999 and it was a breakthrough hit for Willis. Time Magazine hailed the album as "the smartest, most consistently worthwhile country CD" to have been released that year. Three years later, Willis returned to the scene with Easy, which included collaborative efforts with Vince Gill, Union Station's Dan Tyminski, and Nickel Creek's Chris Thile. Willis tossed her hat into the crowded yuletide scene in 2006 with the amiable Happy Holidays, followed by her seventh album, the Chuck Prophet-produced Translated from Love in 2007.


Rusty Miller, Kelly Willis, Jon Grimson and J.D. May