Alison Krauss (from the album Windy City)
When one of the most awarded vocal performers on the planet decides to release an album, you can’t help but look forward to getting your paws on it. Such was the case with me. Alison Krauss’ several decades of work is a tribute to her extreme talent and striving always to bring forth the best there is. Windy City, Alison’s most recent release, marks her first solo offering in seventeen years. The opening track, “Losing You”, with music and lyrics by Jean Renard and Carl Sigman, was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1963. The version on Windy City immediately reminds us Krauss’ voice is ‘golden velvet’ with her sweet and tender rendition. “So Long to You”, written by Mac Wiseman (Foggy Mountain Boys) is borrowed from Bluegrass greats, The Osborne Brothers. The Tex-Mex meets Bluegrass meets New Orleans jazz approach turned out to be a hot combo with the same appeal as another Osborne Brothers cover with the title track to Windy City as Alison Krauss combines classic country with a truly haunting vocal.
“I Never Cared for You”, written and recorded by Willie Nelson in 1964, is skillfully phrased by Ms. Krauss while maintaining the original country, southwest feel…. love it. Alison covers “River in the Rain”, written and recorded in 1969 by Roger Miller, in a spiritual, soulful way, accented by beautiful use of Spanish guitar, while her cover of the 1981 Vern Gosdin release, “Dream of Me”, features great harmony, and is another example of how Alison Krauss makes it her own. “Gentle on My Mind”, written by multi-Grammy winner John Hartford and recorded in 1967 by Glen Campbell, shows Alison’s ability to sing every word from the heart, her rendition is my favorite version of this song.
In another classic tune by Brenda Lee from 1962 “All Alone Am I”, Alison Krauss once again flexes her vocal muscle and gives the impression of angels gently weeping, making it my pick for best track on Windy City, with her version of “Poison Love”, the top remake of the multiple covers performed over the years since its original release. Alison Krauss’ interpretation of “You Don’t Know Me” with soulful phasing and superior voice control is equally exceptional.
Alison should be very proud of Windy City. It is definitely a jewel in the crown of her many achievements which include multiple collaborations and her long running position fronting Union Station. Continuing to set the bar high is what keeps Alison Krauss youthful yet seasoned veteran relevant in today’s music scene. Windy City is a must hear and will appeal to a broad base of tastes. (by J. Alan Taylor)