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Alison Krauss and Union Street Station CD Review


Alison Krauss and Union Street Station CD Review

Review by Michael McKenna
PA Music
April 2011


Seven solo LP’s and seven LP’s with her band Union Station have made for one busy career for Alison Krauss. On her new CD Paper Airplane, the band’s follow-up to 2004’s triple GRAMMY Award-winning Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison returns to her roots with 11 tracks that feature her signature style and those awesome pipes.   Alison’s forte as an American bluegrass-country singer, songwriter and fiddler is well documented. Her work has been compared to that of The Cox Family, Bill Monroe, and Del McCoury and has in turn been credited with influencing various “Newgrass” artists including Nickel Creek, for which she acted as record producer on two of their albums. This multi-Grammy award winner feels right at home with her music and the sound she projects and has greatly helped put the ‘Newgrass’ genre back on the map. As a group Union Station has been called American favorites, World-beaters and the tightest band around. While they have been successful as a group, many reviews note Krauss still “remains the undisputed star and rock-solid foundation” and have described Alison as the band’s focus with an angelic voice that flows like honey.

“Paper Airplane’ features Alison singing her heart out with such deep feeling and sweet melancholy. One of the best on this CD! “Dust Bowl Children” features some precise guitar work and an awesome banjo that makes this tune sound like it emanated in deep in Appalachia. With a country/folk/bluegrass feel all rolled up in one neat package, this tune is real Americana! “Lie Awake” has a bit of a bluesy sound that is so refreshing. Alison’s vocals and harmonies are flawless. “Lay My Burden Down” is a bit of a mid-tempo ballad that has some lyrics that are very real. Allison put so much of herself into this track that one can get the feel by just listening.

“Dimming of the Day” is a beautiful number that I had to listen to numerous times to capture the reality of Alison’s message. “My Love Follows You Where You Go” has a bouncy mid-tempo sound that features tight banjo picking and simple guitar accompaniment that accents Alison’s powerful vocals. The vocal overdubs are tight and harmonious and the banjo solo at the end is flawless.  “Miles to Go” is today’s country at its finest that features masterful accompaniment with the banjo, violin, acoustic guitar and backbeat all rolled up in one neat package. Another one of my picks as one of the best on this CD! “On the Outside Looking In” has a nice uptempo track that smacks of old time country and bluegrass that is performed to perfection. The vocals take one to another place and let you feel his experience. I can see this tune making waves on Country Radio!

“Sinking Stone” has Alison once again doing what she does best, making you feel her deepest feelings. This tune comes from the heart in a way that touches the listener. “Bonita and Bill Butler” takes you into the heart of bluegrass country on a journey that winds its way through the region and the different things that he saw and did in his life. “My Opening Farewell” is an awesome mid-tempo song that Alison uses to her advantage to express herself in a way that only she can do with her unique style. Another one of my picks as one of the best on this CD!

After listening to this wonderful collection of songs, it that made me realize there is a lot more out there in the regions of the country where bluegrass was born and the lives it touches daily. This CD was masterfully produced and leaves me speechless when trying to describe the expertise and talent that is portrayed here. I give this 2 THUMBS UP and cannot wait to hear it performed live to experience it for myself and get the vibes from the stage!

Scheduled for an August 9th concert at Musikfest, one of the US’s largest music festivals, Alison Krauss and Union Station will be playing to music lovers who appreciate gifted musicians and awesome talent.