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Alison Krauss And Union Station - Paper Airplane

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 1 / 5 / 2011

Alison Krauss And Union Station - Paper Airplane
Label: Proper Records
Format: CD


Stunning first album in six years between the award-winning Alison Krauss and her longtime bandnion Station

Bluegrass angel Alison Krauss has reunited with her longtime band Union Station for the new album 'Paper Airplane'. The record is the first collaboration between Krauss and Union Station since 2004’s 'Lonely Runs Both Ways'. Alison Krauss’ singing is lovely and ethereal, and Union Station’s backing hits the right note with this new material culled from various songwriters. 26 times Grammy Award winner Krauss sings and plays fiddle as Dan Tyminski assists on vocals and guitar, with dobro player Jerry Douglas, bassist Barry Bales and the distinctive banjo playing of Ron Block. 'Paper Airplane' is not old timey bluegrass, but possesses its own sound with a blend of bluegrass and country. The album explores an impending darkness, but not one without hope. The title track opens the album with fine acoustic guitar and an effect of instant comfort. Krauss’ angelic voice is gorgeous, as the familiar sounds of Union Station are welcome back with the group returning to form on the opener. There is melancholy here: “Every silver lining always seems to have a cloud that comes my way.” As the song speaks to loneliness, the musical effect (including brilliant banjo work) is nevertheless heartwarming. 'Dustbowl Children' conjures both author John Steinbeck and the ghost of the great Woody Guthrie, as Dan Tyminski sings about the only job he ever got in California, which was waiting in the welfare line. On 'Lay My Burden Down', listening to Krauss sing, the listener amazingly feels the weight of life lift: “If you can make it through the day, it’s not that far.” Her vocals are a true gift. Still somehow fresh off her Grammy winning 2007 'Raising Sand' album collaboration with Robert Plant, Krauss continues to maintain the highest level of musicality. The album contains a version of the excellent Richard Thompson ballad 'Dimming of the Day': “You pull at me like the moon pulls on the tide.” Although these songs are gathered from various songwriters, the album seems to speak to love in trying times. 'Outside Looking In' is an up-tempo number with down home twangy bluegrass sounds including banjo and fiddle in the forefront. Tyminski’s vocals always seem to bring to mind his 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack version of 'Man of Constant Sorrow'. On 'Miles To Go' with its lyric “It’s getting too dark now to see”, Krauss’ beautiful voice nevertheless functions as a beacon of light in the darkness. In the end 'Paper Airplane' is a solid and satisfying effort as the band closes with 'My Opening Farewell', another lovely vocal by Krauss, along with the tight supporting instrumentation of Union Station.

Track Listing:-
1 Paper Airplane
2 Dust Bowl Children
3 Lie Awake
4 Lay My Burden Down
5 My Love Follows You Where You Go
6 Dimming Of The Day
7 On The Outside Looking In
8 Miles To Go
9 Sinking Stone
10 Bonita And Bill Butler
11 My Opening Farewell

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