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TBTS Reviews: Alison Krauss & Union Station – Paper Airplane

April 17, 2011

Alison Krauss has won so many grammys it almost looks likes a misprint – her total is at 26 so far, more than any other woman. Paper Airplane (Rounder) is sure to increase that number. Some may have thought when Union Station decided to add the teenage Krauss to their ranks in the late 80’s they were taking quite a risk. History will show that it paid off, in spades. Alison Krauss & Union Station have come to exemplify what is good about country music, and oddly enough represent the true spirit of the genre’ far better than many modern country artists by focussing their energy in the style of bluegrass and americana. Today’s country category is rife with overproduced pop marketed to a country audience. A much purer and eminently satisfying treat is in store for listeners on Paper Airplane.

Jerry Douglas, a multiple grammy winner in his own right, again lends his masterful Dobro playing to this stellar line up of musicians. His contributions are unmistakeable and lend a classic feel to anything he plays on. The latest AKUS recording is no exception. The title cut and a superb cover of Richard Thompson’s “Dimming of the Day” both shine even brighter from Douglas’s magic touch.

It has been six years plus since Alison Krauss & Union Station released their last CD together, Lonely Runs Both Ways. Word is they went through close to three albums worth of material, before settling on the songs collected on Paper Airplane. Dedicated and casual fans alike will appreciate that the band cares so much about presenting a quality work. One of the great things about the group is that they don’t rely on a particular formula or method, but everything they do somehow retains their trademark sound. Surely a testament to both their strong sense of family and to how well they work together.

Everything that so many have come to know and love from AKUS is here: Krauss’s angelic vocals and peerless fiddle, Dan Tyminski and Ron Block’s earthy guitar tones, Douglas’s aforementioned Dobro, Barry Bales rock solid stand up bass. Paper Airplane is spirited, heartfelt and as genuine an article as you will find. If the current state of country radio has left you feeling a little cheated, this might be just the thing to give you what you need.

  1. Roger permalink
    April 25, 2011 2:52 pm

    Alison Krauss ans her colleagues in Union Station are all consummate professionals and their music on Paper Airplane is impeccable. Alison’s gorgeous voice could never be mistaken for anyone else’s.

    I would have liked to hear a lot more of Alison’s fiddle playing (which Mairead Nesbitt, the dynamic fiddler of Celtic Woman, has identified as a major influence on her own playing) than I hear on this otherwise world class album.

    One of my major wishes for the future is to hear Alison and Union Station join forces with Orla Fallon, formerly of Celtic Woman, whose gentle voice and elegant harp playing would beautifully complement Alison’s singing and fiddling and the picking of Jerry, Ron, Dan and Barry. Anyone who doubts that Alison and Orla are kindred spirits or that bluegrass and Celtic music are related should listen to both ladies’ respective covers of Sarah Siskind’s lovely “Simple Love,” Alison’s on A Hundred Miles or More and orla’s on Distant Shore.



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