Bluegrass-country artist Alison Krauss has released a collection
of her recent hits, some of which feature her band Union Station
and other tracks with Sting, John Waite, James Taylor,
Brad Paisley, and members of The Chieftains. Often compared
to the voice of an archangel, Alison Krauss' vocals have a dreamy,
ethereal quality which give her tunes a lullaby tranquility and a
folktale inflection likened to Polly Vaughan and Patty Griffin.
Her latest release Hundred Miles Or More: Collection gives
music fans an overview of her skill for blissfully hushing nursery
rhymes, gentle cumulus currents, pastel toned tales, and beautifully
thatched melodies. Alison Krauss has a way of making every word in
the English language have a chimerical lilt whether she is singing
pop/rock, Celtic/folk, lullaby ballads, gospel spirituals, or a whooping
bluegrass shindig; it all sounds cerebrally astral and empyreal with
The lax acoustics and downy textures of "Scarlet Tide,"
"You're Just A Country Boy," "Simple Love," and
the nursery rhyme "Baby Mine" - the theme song to Disney's
movie animation Dumbo - are mollified by mellow tempos and
dulcet verses. The lethargic beats of "Away Down The River"
melt into Krauss' lush vocals which fill the dimly pulsed melody,
while the high-strung bluegrass do-si-dos of "Sawing On The Strings"
have galloping fiddles and banjos pumping through the upbeat vocals
and cheerful phrases. The a capella spiritual "Down To The River
To Pray" is silhouette in reposing vocal vibrations, while the
smoky acoustic guitar rings on "Jacob's Dream" are swathed
in sullen mists and lubricating vocals that sail like satin into salient
hoists. Few artists can sing with Krauss' proficiency for dreamy rises
along blanched melodies.
The Celtic chimes and tribal beats on "Molly Ban," an Irish
folktale which a number of artists have done before including The
Corrs, feature instrumentation by members of The Chieftains. The
dancing pipes and lightly tossed fiddles and guitars undertone Krauss'
striking vocal crescendos. The clement-laden acoustics for "How's
The World Treating You," Krauss' duet with James Taylor, would
be idle if not for her breathy vocal incisions. Her pairing with Sting
for "You Will Be My Ain True Love" from Jude Law's
movie Cold Mountain is tenderly versed with silky vocal glides
and elysian violins. Krauss' duet with Brad Paisley, "Whiskey
Lullaby", sulks into dark moods and slow splashing movements
along somber lyrics narrating a tragic tale: "She put him out
like the burning end of a midnight cigarette/ She broke his heart/
He spent his whole life trying to forget/ We watched him drink his
pain away a little at a time/ But he never could get drunk enough
to get her off his mind."
The airy pastel tones in "I Give You To His Heart" augment
the dreamy rise of Krauss' vocals while the tranquil piano score on
"Get Me Through December" snuggles with the wiggling fiddles
and lacy vocals. The final two tracks are duets with singer-songwriter
John Waite. His hit song "Missing You" infuses Waite's vocals
with Krauss singing back to him on the counter verses. The effect
is really cool because for the first time it sounds like Waite isn't
singing to himself but to someone who is answering him back, very
similarly to the way Tim McGraw and his wife Faith Hill's
duets come off. Whereas Waite's and Krauss' vocal twining on the country-pop
ballad "Lay Down Beside Me" has a deeper likeness to early
George Jones and Tammy Wynette duets.
Alison Krauss' latest collection of tunes shows her fondness for
hushing nursery rhymes, softly textured folktales, tragic ballads,
but also upbeat tempos, which is a first for her. Accompanied by her
band mates - Dan Tyminski (guitar), Barry Bales (bass),
Ron Block (banjo and guitar), and Jerry Douglas (dobra)
- Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS) have played together since
1989. Maybe the biggest reason they are still together is because
they give themselves creative freedom to go outside of the band to
learn something new and then bring it into the band. Krauss' latest
collection is a testament to this.
Krauss was born in Champaign, Illinois and signed to Rounder Records
when she was 14. She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993
and turned 22 that year. She has recorded with a number of recording
artists including Vince Gill, Shania Twain, Mindy
Smith, Joan Osborne, Jedd Hughes, Dar Williams,
Dolly Parton, and Alan Jackson, to name a few. Krauss
has won an impressive 20 Grammy Awards in bluegrass and country music,
and she has not peaked if her latest collection is any indication
of her future. The album isn't about her limitations, but about music
that even surprises herself when she sings it.
1. You're Just A Country Boy
2. Simple Love
3. Jacob's Dream
4. Away Down The River
5. Sawing On The Strings
6. Down To The River To Pray
7. Baby Mine
8. Molly Ban
9. How's The World Treating You
10. The Scarlet Tide
11. Whiskey Lullaby
12. You Will Be My Ain True Love
13. I Give You His True Heart
14. Get Me Through December
15. Missing You
16. Lay Down Beside Me
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