Album Review – Alison Krauss’ ‘Windy City’

alison-krauss-windy-city

When discussing some of the best and brightest artists in the history of country music, Alison Krauss is a name that should come up. I feel like she’s one of the most underrated artists of the genre, probably due to being more involved with bluegrass with her band Union Station. But she’s pretty much done it all in both genres. Her 27 Grammys, tied for second most all-time, is shining proof of this. Whether it’s her bluegrass work with Union Station, doing a duet album with Robert Plant or her own great work on her own, she shines and gains widespread attention. Now after over 18 years, Krauss has released a new album of solo material. Together with veteran country producer Buddy Cannon, the two picked out ten classic country songs to cover. And the results are really good.

The waltzing “Losing You” opens up Windy City. Right away it’s obvious Krauss sounds as fantastic as ever on this tragic Brenda Lee heartbreak ballad. Krauss gets more upbeat on “It’s Goodbye and So Long To You.” It’s an instantly catchy track with plenty of horns and steel guitar. Krauss delivers a Dolly-like vocal performance, really giving the song more punch. The album’s title track is a heartbreak song about Chicago capturing the heart of a woman’s man and begging to have him back. She walks the lonely streets of the city wondering if she’ll ever win him back. It’s an adaptation of the Osborne Brothers’ song of the same name. One of my favorites on the album is her cover of Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared For You.” It’s a clever song about the person saying they never cared for their ex, although admitted to be an outright lie and a coping mechanism in a time of heartbreak. Krauss really nails the emotion of the song. “River In The Rain” is an Roger Miller song that Krauss does more than great justice. Originally this was a duet between Huck Finn and a slave, but Krauss turns this into a touching love song. Anyone can cover a song, but I love it when an artist makes the cover their own and Krauss certainly does this.

Another standout on Windy City is Vern Gosdin’s “Dream of Me.” It’s a song that perfectly suits Krauss’ voice, as she sings of telling her man to dream of her every time he feels down and blue. Laden with plenty of steel guitar to go with these great lyrics, this one was an instant favorite for me. John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind,” made famous of course by Glen Campbell, is another cover on Windy City. It might be my new favorite cover of the song. Of course this is a really enjoyable song in itself. “Poison Love” is a really simple song that you can instantly gravitate to and find yourself singing along with from the first listen. The piano-driven Brenda Lee song “All Alone Am I” is a taste of how great Krauss can be on more vulnerable tracks. But this is best demonstrated on the album’s final track “You Don’t Know Me.” It’s an Eddy Arnold song about letting possible love slipping through your fingers and being left to forever wonder what if. You’ll never truly know them and they’ll truly never know you. It’s regret that’ll never leave you. Krauss is at her absolute best here, as well as the instrumentation. Each perfectly frames the song and delivers a gut-punch to close out the album.

For fans of classic country and Alison Krauss, Windy City is a real joy to listen to from start to finish. I really applaud Krauss and Cannon for picking a great group of songs to cover. There’s plenty of variety, a song for any mood you’re in on this album. Each listen through you’ll have a new favorite. It’s also an educational album for those aren’t as informed about the history of the genre and brings to light some quality old artists worth knowing about. I wouldn’t be surprised if this album sees Krauss add to her staggering Grammys total. Krauss once again delivers really good music with Windy City.

Grade: 8/10

 

Recommend? – Yes

Album Highlights: You Don’t Know Me, I Never Cared For You, It’s Goodbye and So Long To You, Dream of Me, Losing You

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: None


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4 thoughts on “Album Review – Alison Krauss’ ‘Windy City’

  1. Glad you guys reviewed this one. I believe Allison has the most angelic voice of any genre ive ever heard. Sounds great from what im hearing. After seeing this, might have to pick this one up. Cant even make it through February without adding to the collection. Lol thanks guys.

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  2. She is first class all the way. Someone I know knew her back in the day from fiddle contests, and said she was so nice then, and just as nice and down to earth now. Her voice is angelic, and she represents herself in a first class manner. I guess there’s a bit of a ceiling to any project of all classic covers, but it’s one of the most pleasant listens of the year.

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  3. We have to wait until March to buy the album here. But why wait?
    All-around great album. Alison Krauss sounds as good as ever. The song selection is fantastic. Buddy Cannon knows what to do. It’s not an Alison Krauss sings a couple of well known country oldies recorded by 1001 artists before album. Even one of the best known tracks “Gentle On My Mind” sounds fresh.
    My Highlights: “Gentle On My Mind”, “I Never Cared For You”, “It’s Goodbye & So Long To You” & “Windy City”. (10/10)

    New Album: Tania Kernaghan – All Australian Girl – 10 Tracks – Tania Kernaghan Productions – Released (02/17)
    The Magic Moment: back in 1997 i bought an album called December Moon. My first australian country album. I listened to the first nine songs. Good songs. But after the first 20 seconds of song 10 i knew “Leave Like A Man” is an instant all-time-favourite. The 20 seconds are magic. Best opening of a country tune ever (my un-/popular opinion).
    Tania Kernaghan (the sister of australian superstar Lee Kernaghan) is one of the best known country artists down under. Hosting tv-shows & playing in australian movies. She won awards (like four Golden Guitars) & received gold & platinum records.
    Tanias new album All Australian Girl starts with the first single “That’s A Tradie”. The song was a #1 hit a couple of weeks ago (Country Tracks Top 40 Australia). Tania Kernaghan fans will love her new album. Traditional sound, no loud guitars, drum loops or production-gimmicks, classic country instrumentation & a bit on the old-fashioned side of country music. “All Australian Girl” is the most “modern” country & uptempo track on the album. “Kimberley Moon” swings & “Light In The Window” is a beautiful ballad. A showcase for Tania Kernaghans voice.
    My Highlights: “That’s A Tradie”, “All Australian Girl”, “Light In The Window”, “Happily Ever After”, “End Of A Drought” & “Love’s Gonna Find You”. (9/10)

    My Country Top Tracks Of The Week:
    #01 – Bradley Banning – “Don’t Mess With Texas”
    #02 – Cottonwood Creek – “The Road That Led To Me”
    #03 – Rachael Turner – “Hurts Don’t It”
    #04 – Charlie Worsham – “Cut Your Groove”
    #05 – Hayley McDaniel – “Nashville Heartbreak”
    #06 – Ricky Van Shelton – “I Think I Like It Here”
    #07 – Lari White feat. Suzy Bogguss – “Wishes”
    #08 – Michael Christopher – “The Boys Of Summer”
    #09 – Shane Smith & The Saints – “Runaway Train”
    #10 – Drew Taylor Band – “Pickup Soul”
    On The Rise: Blake Burrow – “Cotton On Concrete”
    On The Rise: Blake Burrow – “Memories & Mistakes”
    On The Rise: Lari White – “That’s My Baby” (New Version 2017)
    On The Rise: Alison Krauss – “Gentle On My Mind”
    On The Rise: Lance Carpenter – “Any Guy”
    On The Rise: Jase Lansky – “Whiskey & Wine”
    On The Rise: Paula McCulla – “That Had To Hurt”
    On The Rise: Jamie Lee Thurston – “Givin’ Up Breathin'”
    On The Rise: Tania Kernaghan – “End Of A Drought”

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