Exploring New Music: Alison Krauss

September is here – and nearly over – and I nearly forgot my 2018 New Year Resolution of listening to more, new music (new to me)! So, looking again to Alfie for inspiration, I decided on an artist who both recorded a song that Alfie went on to record and who has worked with someone who Alfie has also worked with.

I am talking about bluegrass, country singer Alison Krauss who wrote Onward’s A Living Prayer, much loved by Alfie fans and featured at number ten in this year’s best ever song poll.  The artist that both Krauss and Alfie have worked with is Robert Plant; Alfie on the track Song to the Siren and Krauss on a collaborative album, Raising Sand.  In both cases, the pairing was somewhat surprising but wonderful.

Krauss and Union Station have released numerous albums, both solo and together so I chose a few albums to listen to, including Raising Sand as the partnership with Robert Plant was intriguing to say the least.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The vocals are in perfect harmony and it seems incredible to the listener that this was not a long term collaboration when recorded.  When it’s right, it’s right.  Killing The Blues is my favourite track:

The melody and vocals wrap the listener in a warm blanket of harmony and bluegrass – loved it. Straight after Killing The Blues comes the uptempo Gone, Gone, Gone:

Both artists seem to be having so much fun here and the catchy lyrics and beat have danceability in spades – I dare you to sit still whilst listening!  Other stand out tracks were Stick With Me Baby and Please Read The Letter.  Can you tell, I really liked this album?

Moving onto an earlier album for Krauss and Union Station, 2004’s Lonely Runs Both Ways has A Living Prayer on (click here to see this) but that’s not the song I enjoyed most.  That honour goes to Goodbye Is All We Have:

Perfectly suited to Krauss’s pure vocals, the song plays to her strengths – many of her songs are ballads and the emotion she portrays in song shines out here.  Restless, the opening track and Gravity are the best of the rest.

Finally, the last album I looked at was Krauss’s first solo album for a while, Windy City, released in 2017.  The stand out track here is Goodbye and So Long To You:

Out and out country, it’s a song that screams joy and is in the best tradition of country women standing up for themselves. Another one I couldn’t sit still for.   In contrast, the ballad, River in the Rain is just beautiful, showing the range of Krauss’s voice:

All in all, this was one of the more enjoyable aspects of my New Year Resolution – I’ll be delving more deeply into Krauss’s back catalogue from now on.

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