Been There For You For Decades (Alison Krauss, Windy City review)

I’m not sure why this myself, is but it’s been proven time and again that familiar music is much more likely to incite positive feelings than anything else.

So if you want to induce a good mood for yourself, listen to something you already love. Whether you’re on the road, cleaning house, at work or in the middle of the creative act. Music we’ve personally identifed as good just breeds positive feelings.

Emotional and slowly simmering over decades, this week’s album review features classic tracks, by a familiar voice.

Alison Krauss – Windy City
released February 17, 2017
******* 7/10

alison-krauss-windy-city-album

Alison Krauss is an American bluegrass-country singer and musician. Having been active in the music industry since ten years old, and now forty five years of age, Krauss has released fourteen studio length albums since 1987, including songs on soundtracks such as Cold Mountain.

When it comes to accolades, Krauss has won a total of twenty seven Grammy Awards, no small feat given that she is one of the top recording artists in the history of the awards; now second only to Hungarian-British conductor Sir Georg Solti, who has thirty one awards.

But truthfully I can say it best when I say nothing at all, and let the music speak for itself.

As you all know, I kind of had to grow up listening to country music, so I’m well versed with Krauss’ ability to break hearts and take names over a three minute interval. And this album is no different. Windy City is the fifth solo album by Alison Krauss and features covers of ten classic country songs originally from Brenda Lee, The Osborne Brothers, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Vern Gosdin, Glen Campbell, Bill Monroe and Eddy Arnold.

The question remains the same – is Windy City a fitting tribute or a cold wasteland. Well, I would argue it fits well, but is a bit of a biter.

Krauss is three decades into her career now, and she has an established voice, but unlike so many other artists before her, she has never explored a cover song album previously, and she’s not known for taking the unbeaten path. For instance, I’ve already eluded to her 1995 hit which was a cover of Keith Whitley’s When You Say Nothing At All. She’s always been a staple of the industry, with a touch of refinement, so Windy City doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, though it does sounds amazingly touching throughout. After all, Krauss was particular to record only on days that she felt at her optimal performance levels.

It’s a gentle reminder that there is a reason this lady has twenty seven Grammys; she has talent and intelligence to back it up. Now, I’m not going to spend time digging into each track to justify the existence of each one within the scope of Windy City, but I will write this – Dream of Me, I Never Cared for You, and You Don’t Know Me all made me rather emotional, heck, that last one got me all teary eyed. But that’s probably because ballads are Alison’s bread and butter.

Another point to note, the fire and passion throughout this record are very welcome additions, and something a fan of bluegrass at any age will appreciate. If you’re a fan of classic country, which apparently I am now (thanks for force-feeding me from a young age Dad), Windy City will feel like a well-worn pair of driving gloves, warm, comforting and protective. Also it serves as a bit of an education on what preceded her in the genre.

Krauss’ legacy is well intact and reinforced with Windy City.

 

There’s no way for Alison Krauss to compete with her early successes, people already have decades of time spent with those first few  singles, but playing homage to other well worn tracks is a smart move, and one which plays to her strengths. Windy City might not be the most original offering of the year, but it’s a familiar one, and fun to boot.

Tim!

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