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Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss has been a long time gone. Or so it seems. It's been 10 long years since her breakthrough album New Favourite set the benchmark to which newcomers to the country / bluegrass market must aspire. And since that time her only output with the always superb Union Station has been the allegedly ill prepared follow up Lonely Runs Both Ways (2004).

Of course, Alison's not been resting on her laurels - we've had the much admired Raising Sand (2007) project with Robert Plant which, for me, was just a little too introspective. There's also been a live album / dvd, a couple of ‘best of‘ collections, and guest appearances with the likes of Heart (check out the wonderful cameo performance on Heart's recent A Night At Sky Church dvd where she takes lead vocals on These Dreams).

But it's when she teams up with Union Station that the magic really begins to flow. The country/bluegrass field is one in which there has seen an explosion of talent in recent years, but the combination of Alison Krauss with Dan Tyminski (guitar / mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Ron Block (guitar), Barry Bales (bass) and Larry Atamanuik (drums, percussion) is one that's irresistible.

Coverdale demonstrated recently with Forevermore that there's absolutely no need to change a winning formula. And with Paper Airplane Alison Krauss and Union Station haven't deviated from the template used of New Favourite and Lonely Runs Both Ways. There's a couple of obvious singles candidates - the excellent title track, the sumptuous My Love Follows You Where You Go, and perhaps Miles To Go, three numbers on which Dan Tyminski takes lead vocals, and a cover (Dimming Of The Day). And throughout, the playing and interplay, is as finger pickin' good as it gets.

While Forevermore may prove to be Coverdale's swansong (and a very fine one at that), Paper Airplane is just Alison Krauss and Union Station getting back on the bus and doing what they do best. It's a welcome return, but at the same time you can't help but think it would have been nice to see a bit more innovation in the song writing department.

That said, Paper Airplane is guaranteed to add to Alison Krauss's 26 Grammys. And that's already a record for a female artist.


Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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