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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Windy City - Alison Krauss (17th February 2017)

Windy City - Alison Krauss
Capitol Records
Produced by Buddy Cannon
Released 17th February 2017

A1 Losing You    
A2 It's Goodbye And So Long To You    
A3 Windy City    
A4 I Never Cared For You    
A5 River In The Rain    
B1 Dream Of Me    
B2 Gentle On My Mind    
B3 All Alone Am I    
B4 Poison Love    
B5 You Don't Know Me

Bonus Tracks on Deluxe and on Download Card with the Vinyl Edition
11 Windy City (Live)    
12 River In The Rain (Live)    
13 Losing You (Live)*    
14 I Never Cared For You (Live)

*Included on the Playlist above 

Before someone says, "Mr Watson, you are a man of great musical contradiction!" let me say that if there is one thing I have come to learn down through my many years of enjoying music is that it is way better to approach music with an open mind rather than a narrow focus. Maybe it upsets some that on this blog that there is such a diversity of sound but I really feel no need to make apologies for that. There is music that appeals to me for all sorts of moods and situations and then there is the absolute joy of just hearing a voice so beautiful that you cannot pass by easily and just have to give some moments to allow the sound to wash over your soul.

That's exactly how I come to the voice and sound of Alison Krauss! There is such a smoothness and beauty to her vocal that it just stops me in my tracks and forces me to down tools and just listen in absolute wonder.

Windy City is the first album for her new label Capitol Records after years of being on Rounder Records. It is also the first Solo outing since Forget About It (1999) and a decade since her outstanding collaboration with Robert Plant on Raising Sand (2007) and the first new project since Paper Airplane with her long time band Union Station in 2011.

All the songs are cover versions. Here are the original versions of the songs:

A1 Losing You - Brenda Lee    
A2 It's Goodbye And So Long To You - The Osborne Brothers with MacWiseman   
A3 Windy City - The Osborne Brothers   
A4 I Never Cared For You - Willie Nelson   
A5 River In The Rain - Roger Miller    
B1 Dream Of Me - Vern Gosdin   
B2 Gentle On My Mind - Glen Campbell    
B3 All Alone Am I - Brenda Lee   
B4 Poison Love - Bill Monroe  
B5 You Don't Know Me - Eddy Arnold 

As is usual with Alison Krauss there is a carefulness in choosing the right song and she really does have an ear for a good one and also the ability to make it so fresh that you would never guess (if you didn't know the original) that it was actually an old song she was singing, such is the beautiful stamp she seems to place on every song she touches.

This seems like one of those albums that just seems suited to a Sunday morning. From start to finish it's wonderfully put together with some absolutely gorgeous moments musically. Members of Union Station, including banjo player Ron Block and bassist Barry Bales, play alongside Nashville country-rock legends like guitarist Richard Bennett and drummer Chad Cromwell. Krauss, who finds her peace in the perfect vocal blend, invited an all-star cast to harmonize with her on these tracks: honky-tonk heroes Hank Williams Jr., and Jamey Johnson, bluegrass standard-bearers Sidney & Suzanne Cox, her longtime collaborator Dan Tyminski, Cannon's daughter Melonie. "The feel of these tracks is highly professional but loose: pros romping through their repertoire, with Krauss making each song charmingly personal" (Ann Powers - NPR: Check out Ann Powers' piece on Alison and the interview over at NPR).

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