Alison Krauss + Union Station - New Favorite

Alison Krauss & Union Station
New Favorite

(Rounder)

First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2001, Volume 8, #11

Written by John Metzger

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Although Alison Krauss utilized members of Union Station throughout her last release Forget About It, the disc was most definitely a solo outing. As such, the album was a solidly enjoyable effort, though it lacked the transcendent quality of many of her projects with the now legendary Union Station. Her latest endeavor New Favorite finds her fully reuniting with the band with which she rose to stardom, and the album the band's first in four years is truly a welcome return.

Krauss always has had a special knack for reinterpreting the songs of others, and New Favorite continues this trend in a delightful fashion. The title track is a gorgeous remake of a Gillian Welch tune; Krauss' angelic voice drifts dreamily over the soft and subtle strains laid down by the band as her own viola accompaniment gives the song an orchestral luminescence. In addition, Krauss once again turns to the compositions of songwriter Robert Lee Castleman for inspiration. Indeed, Krauss is onto something here as she brings a certain magic to his material, lighting them up in ways that Castleman's own renditions fail to accomplish. She and her band capture the sadness in, while simultaneously adding a sense of hope to, Let Me Touch You for Awhile, and the group bathes The Lucky One with a gentle, but irresistible, flow.

One of the reasons that Krauss' work with Union Station is so effective is that their collaborations draw from a diverse array of musical styles, offering a steaming slice of Americana that blurs the lines among country, folk, bluegrass, and pop. Dan Tyminski best-known as the voice behind the Soggy Bottom Boys delivers brilliant covers of traditional bluegrass tunes like Bright Sunny South and The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn; Jerry Douglas repeatedly demonstrates his amazing prowess on dobro, making his instrument resonate with a haunted yearning; and Ron Block's banjo picking is as fine as can be, glittering and galloping around the steadfast rhythm of bassist Barry Bales.

Throughout New Favorite, Krauss and Union Station display the tight instrumentation that they always have displayed turning Douglas' Choctaw Hayride into a fiery affair and intertwining harmonies with stunning precision on The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn. In other words, this aptly titled album is indeed a thrilling effort, one that sure to please both longtime fans as well as those who recently have discovered the group through its work on the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. starstarstarstar

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44th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group w/ Vocal
The Lucky One

44th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Country Song
The Lucky One (Robert Lee Castleman)

44th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Bluegrass Album
New Favorite

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New Favorite is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright 2001 The Music Box