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New Favorite by Alison Krauss & Union Station
Alison Kraus & Union Station: Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle, viola); Ron Block (vocals, guitar, banjo); Dan Tyminski (vocals, guitar,... Read More
Alison Kraus & Union Station: Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle, viola); Ron Block (vocals, guitar, banjo); Dan Tyminski (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Barry Bales (vocals, bass); Jerry Douglas (dobro). Additional personnel includes: Larry Atamanuik (drums, percussion). Recorded at Seventeen Grand Recording, Nashville, Tennessee. NEW FAVORITE won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. "The Lucky One" won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by A Duo Or Group With Vocal and for Best Country Song. This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. Personnel: Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle, viola); Ron Block (vocals, guitar, banjo); Dan Tyminski (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Barry Bales (acoustic & electric basses, background vocals); Larry Atamanuik (drums, percussion). Principally recorded at Seventeen Grand Studios, Nashville, Tennessee. NEW FAVORITE won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. "The Lucky One" won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Countr... Minimize
11 Reviews from Epinions.com
Aug 23, 2001
Alison Krauss' Voice is Filled With Cotton and Knives
Pros: Krauss' voice is at the peak of perfection: soft, sweet, sharp
Cons: The mixed bag of styles might not appeal to everyone
The Bottom Line:
Fans of the O Brother soundtrack will be salivating; other listeners might be wondering why there's not more Alison Krauss.
Alison Krauss fans who purchase New Favorite, the latest release from Alison Krauss and Union Station may end up getting more Union Station than they bargained for.
Then again, maybe its not right to use fans in that preceding sentencemore like, unsuspecting shoppers who happen to stumble upon the CD in the country bin while on their way from the bubblegum boy bands to the Andrew Lloyd Weber compilations sections and who, the attractive cover photo of the fetching Miss Krauss catching their eye, happen to stop and exclaim aloud, Why look here, thats the gal who sang with George Clooney in that brother picture-show, and then proceed to add the CD to the growing stack (Boys in the Bubble, Dont Cry For Me, Jesus Christ, etc.) under their arm, and go away thinking theyll hear Miss Krauss and Miss Krauss alone. Yes, I guess those are the consumers I meant.
Because true Alison Krauss fans know she is as inseparable from her band of grade-A bluegrass musicians, Union Station, as Chang was from Eng. Rarely has that Siamese twin collaboration been as strong as it is on New Favorite. In fact, the expert pickin is sure to leave you grinnin and for a while you might just forget youre listening to an Alison Krauss album.
I tell you all this so you wont be surprised when the second cut launchesThe Boy Who Wouldnt Hoe Cornand a twangy male voice starts hollering, Tell you a little story and it wont take long. You might do a double-take and say, Hey, that theres George Clooney! Well, not exactly. Thats Dan Tyminski, the Union Station mainstay who provided Clooneys singing voice in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. Its the film that seems to have launched a thousand bluegrass careers (or, to speak more respectfully, revived those careers, putting a dozen or so legendary singers smack dab in front of many Americans).
Tyminski, and all the Union Station players, get plenty of spotlight time here and while that news might appeal to die-hard fans, others might be disappointed they dont get more of Miss Krauss sweet songbird warble. Tyminski takes center stage on two other ballads, Momma Cried and Bright Sunny South and Ron Block takes over on It All Comes Down to You. While I think both men are fine musicians on guitar, banjo and mandolin, truth be told, Id rather listen to Krauss.
From the moment six years ago I first heard her tender-as-a-bruised-heart cover of Keith Whitleys When You Say Nothing At All, I was hooked like a bluegill gulping a worm. Never mind the fact that she can make a fiddle-string sound like a heart-string, never mind that shes decidedly easy on the eyes, never mind that shes one of those country-bluegrass crooners who care more about music than image (Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch also come to mind). Never mind all that. What really matters to me is The Voice.
Alison Krauss soprano has the unique ability to sound soft as a wad of cotton one minute and sharp as a fillet knife the next. It leads you gently into a state of near-lull, then with one crack of her throat-pipes she slaps you upside the head. And you sit straighter, stare at your stereo speakers, and say, Wow! Where did that come from?
It came from deep within, brother. At that nurturing place where all great musicians incubate their talent and release it to the world at large only when its ready. New Favorite feels like a project which has been incubated with lots of TLC. Its certainly a mixed bag and, yes, there are a couple of tracks which dont satisfy as much as they should (Im Gone and Take Me For Longing). But then theres such breath-robbing beauties as the cover of Dan Fogelbergs Stars (I know Ive heard his version, but it never cut me as deep as Krauss) or the melancholic longing of Let Me Touch You For Awhile which opens the album with a whisper of cotton but soon pulls out the fillet knife. It also contains the line Im gonna ruin my black mascara, which, in those six words, contains paragraphs of meaning.
However, the albums real standout trackthe song that shoves that blade deep into the ol ventricleis the one that brings everything to a close, New Favorite. Written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, its a simple, sparsely-worded poem about an end-of-the-line romance:
Youve got a new favorite.
Why do you lie about love?
I saw the light go out.
As Barry Bales metronomes with the bass line and Jerry Douglas makes the dobro cry like disappointment, Krauss approaches each line softly. Its as if shes speaking to her soon-to-be-ex lover through numbed lips. In her voice, you can hear buckets of held-back tears. If this song doesnt split you open, nothing will.
Speaking of cuttingor at least cutting looseone of the most rousing tracks in the 13-song lineup is Choctaw Hayride, an instrumental which capitalizes on everything that makes Alison Krauss and Union Station so great. Written by Douglas, its a rollicking storm of guitars and fiddle. If we cant have all-Alison all-the-time, then we could certainly do worse than this healthy dose of Union Station sharing the speaker-time. I mean, we could be listening to Boys in the Bubble.
[This review is part of the I Heart Alison Write-Off in which several epinioneers have gathered to wax poetic about Alison Krauss and Union Station. Participants include
When youre through here, please take a moment to visit their reviews by clicking on the see all reviews link at the bottom of this screen or, better yet, by visiting their profile pages. I know for a fact that youll heart their reviews. If not completely satisfied, however, you can return the merchandise within 30 days and get a full refund, minus shipping and handling costs.]
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