Alison Krauss’s new album

Follow the link at the bottom (after the audio clip) for my review of Alison Krauss’s new album.

If I could, I would, but I don’t love this album.

It is, certainly, a very good album as far as production, instrumental prowess, and such goes. But song selection? It sort of drags. There’s mostly a combo of slower love ballads (even when the topic isn’t love) and some old-timey midtempo stomps.

But here’s the thing: Union Station is one of the most ass-kickin’ bluegrass bands out there. So, where’s the ass-kickin’ bluegrass? It’s on Krauss’s other albums, mostly. Featured on this one is a whole lot of sentimental dobro lines from virtuoso Jerry Douglas, and then mostly a nice bit of flat picking and strummed guitars.

Still, Alison Krauss might have the prettiest voice in all of popular music. Her voice ambles between sultry, ethereal, and a clarion call, sometimes all within one track, like the opener “Paper Airplane.”

The clear winner for my favorite track is Peter Rowan’s “Dust Bowl Children,” a song written in the late 80s but meant to sound like a fast, old-time folk ballad from the 30s, during the time in question. Here we have the aforementioned badassery [favorite neologism]. Ironically, this one doesn’t have Krauss vocals. What it does have is a bluesy riff, played unison by fiddle, dobro, and guitar, that just knocks it out of the park, and some nice fast banjo work in the background.

The best Krauss vocal is “Lie Awake,” a song with this catchy little ascending riff that wanders back down along some funky chromatic tones, and Krauss sounds best when her voice is melodically ascending, as it brings out her richer, fuller timbres, rather than descending lines which she tends to guard with her whispery tone. Those two songs are excellent, the rest is fine. Now, to go back and listen to the album version of “If I Could” off Hoist, feat. Ms. Krauss on vocals, an album infinitely better 17 years later than at its original release.

Consequence of Sound review: Album Review: Alison Krauss.

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~ by Jake on April 26, 2011.

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