ALISON KRAUSS and UNION STATION – Paper Airplane

It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me how Alison Krauss more or less single-handedly re-kindled my liking for all things bluegrass. OK, Ms Krauss and her well oiled band of Barry Hales (bass), Jerry Douglas (slide guitars), Ron Block (banjo) and Dan Tyminski (guitar & mandolin) are the ultimate kings of cool lifting the often berated yee-haw cliché to new peaks of excellence. On this recording her gifted bunch of musicians prove truly inspirational for those ready and eager to embrace ‘acoustic’ music in all its glory and conversely, for those that feel there’s no relevance of this genre in today’s society (and specifically aimed at those ‘Countryfile’ viewers amongst you) then I suggest you check out the three minute diatribe of Peter Rowan’s song “Dustbowl Children” where the stark banjo and desperation in the vocal performance speaks volumes for those who feel rightfully aggrieved at the onslaught of modern technology. As ever though it’s the towering presence of the lady herself where her unhurried and almost breathless tones generate the warm glow of a mother cooing her baby to sleep with a lullaby. Perhaps, for some this album may be a bit laid-back particularly without the recent pyrotechnics displayed on Steve Martin’s latest release but for those who enjoy ‘listening’ to an album and broadening their musical tastes this Grammy awarded album will do nicely. By the way, congratulations to the website design team for the inclusion of the lyrics (a real bonus for reviewers) as space is limited in a CD booklet.

PETE FYFE

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Artist’s website: www.alisonkrauss.com