sat 16/12/2017

CD: Alison Krauss - Windy City | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Alison Krauss - Windy City

CD: Alison Krauss - Windy City

First solo outing in 18 years reworks some country classics

A woman from Illinois with Tennessee blood in her veins

An album to please old fans and make new ones, Windy City is a peach – even at first playing it feels like slipping in to a worn-in pair of jeans or boots, a comfy ol’ fit. And that’s because the songs are country classics and in our musical DNA.

Alison Krauss might have grown up in Decatur, Illinois but she surely has Tennessee blood in her veins. Windy City finds her paired up with Buddy Cannon, a state native who’s produced albums by the likes of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Billy Ray Cyrus. Her debut for Capitol, it’s her first solo outing in almost 18 years and she’s backed by some of Music City’s finest. Fiddles, piano and steel guitar underpin Krauss’s keening, heartfelt vocals. Like all the best country music it all sounds so easy.

The stand-out track among many is “You Don’t Know Me”, the mid-fifties hit which closes the album. Elvis, Dylan, Diana Krall and Emmylou Harris are among those who’ve covered it – and of course Meryl Streep had damned good shot at the song in Postcards from the Edge. It’s a perfect 10 and you just want to play it over and over. Heartbreak at its very best! “All Alone Am I” is forever associated with Brenda Lee (and how many of us realised it was written by Manos Hadjidakis for Never On Sunday, starring Melina Mercouri – the lyrics came later, written for Lee). Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared for You” has a south-of-the-border feel, while the title track and “Gentle on My Mind”, which won awards for Glen Campbell, provide the album’s up-tempo moments. Krauss bluegrass roots show in “Poison Love” – Bill Monroe would approve – and the gossamer-light vocals would do Dolly Parton proud.

There’s just one complaint: Windy City just isn’t long enough (at 34 minutes it really is short) though the de luxe edition buys you for extra tracks, live versions of four of the songs.

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