Firstly I would like to say that I am totally gripped by this album and that I would recommend it to anyone interested in traditional music, country or folk. I received this album as a surprise Xmas gift and would have not chosen it independently, however I instantly took a shine to the lighter tracks where Alison sings lead, like 'Let Me Touch You For a While' and 'The Lucky One' (though more accessible these are nonetheless touching, quality songs). I am growing increasingly fond of the rougher edged sound of Dan Tyminskis lead vocals, though I found these tracks more difficult intially. I would suggest this album to anyone prepared to give a chance to this pleasant mix of sounds and styles.
Alison Krauss and her gifted compadres ,Union Station , have scaled new heights in their efforts to bring you music that touches that tender part that lives within us all. Now featuring the prodigiously talented Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Alison and her band have never sounded better. The mix is similar to previous releases, with pure bluegrass tunes rubbing shoulders with wistful tunes by contemporary writers like Robert Lee Castleman. They breath new life into every track with their obvious love for the music. Alison is already in the premier division of singers today, and she chooses vehicles that perfectly compliment her wonderful voice. But never are the songs straight forward; they twist and turn into unusual structures, but still find a way into the listeners heart. The whole CD is a delight. Listen to it and it won't be long before a smile follows.
Alison Krauss has one of the beautiful voices in modern music. But this album shows Union Station to be so much more than her stunning vocals. The stand out feature of this album is the musicianship of all members of the band. The addition of jerry douglas dobro has added a new layer to their compositions. This album is simply a must.
Oh what a delight! I'm no out and out Bluegrass or Country fan, however I love Ry Cooder and if you love him you'll love this album. It is a superb album and even my eldest son, a purist when it comes to rock, country blues and the like is enthusiastic about it. Alison has a voice so sweet yet so strong and clear that it raises the hackles to hear it. It is an irony that she is seen mainly as a backing musician and vocalist when her voice is clearly superior to that of the person she usually backs. Apart from the odd track I would not recommend her early work as much of it is schmaltzy, anodyne country ballad but with this album she has returned to her Appalachian/Bluegrass roots. It is a tour de force.
I am so pleased I bought this record. I saw this band on TV, having inadvertently tuned into the Country Music awards late one night. The first act I saw perform live on stage was Alison Krauss and Union Station. They played Lucky One, I listened and was hooked! Amidst the glitz and pretence inherent with American awards ceremonies shone this band as one true, honest and highly skilled. Shining also was their modesty with Alison Krauss capturing my attention from the first note. I bought the album for my girlfriend. A treat which goes up and down in tempo and style yet maintains its sheer quality throughout. Its one of those albums you end up showing off to all your friends because you discovered it first! Everyone I've played it to have also loved it and have since asked me for its title...they want it! I think you would have to be an individual of little heart or soul and lacking almost completely in personality to not like this record. The ballads are instantly adorable whilst the harder edged bluegrass sounds are distinct growers. One that will see the inside of my CD player for many years to come.
Let me run my opinion up the flagpole before I start, and say that I think "New Favorite" is arguably the best and most important new folk recording of the new millennium to date. That's a sweeping claim - you'll have to decide for yourself whether I've justified it. Firstly, performances. Ms Krauss was a virtuoso bluegrass fiddle player by her teens and on the strength of her current form she would by now be a legendary country musician even if she'd never sung a note - but amazingly her singing has surpassed even her instrumental virtuosity. Pure, tender and with perfect phrasing, she may now have the best living voice in any branch of country. Add to that the increasingly famous voice and guitar of Dan Tyminski (justly Grammied for his lead singing role on "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"). Stir in the ever-breathtaking slide dobro of Jerry Douglas and three-part harmonies to bring you out in goosebumps. . . and you have one of the best sounding albums of all time in any genre. Secondly, compositions. Of the 13 songs on the album, only one fails to sound like an instant classic. Of the other 12, it is difficult to know which is best - my opinion changes from day to day. The lyrics are as good as the tunes, and the new arrangements of two traditional folk songs are as fresh and rivetting as the new material. Thirdly, presentation. In one sense this is an album of two halves, one set of hushed introspective ballads and one set of traditional up-tempo bluegrass workouts. But the way the songs are sequenced, the album never gets set in an atmospheric rut - it remorselessly takes you up and down from the first note to the last. The end result is more than just a collection of 13 songs - it's a manifesto from the strongest country group act of this generation that bluegrass is going to break out into the mainstream (an agenda that "O Brother...", "Down From The Mountain" and so on are in on). This is high musical politics, and the fact that "New Favourite" earned three Grammies (best bluegrass album, and best country song/best group performance for "Lucky One") alongside the closely related awards for "O Brother..." (in which AKUS are of course heavily featured) is a sign that the strategy is working. Fourthly, integrity. There's no relentless glitzy studio production, just beautifully crisp detailed sound. No toadying guest appearances to broaden the album's market artifically. No electronically sequenced break-beat percussion (in fact there's hardly any percussion at all, but the soft numbers don't need it and the fast numbers pound along like an express train without it). Performance, composition, presentation, integrity. A vibrant cross-fertilisation of bluegrass and new country. Modern production with traditional values. An album like this is a one-off - we could have to wait a decade for anything else in the same class.
Well this album is certainly my new favorite. The clarity of Alison's voice is exeptional. All of my friends have insisted on getting a copy since I played it to them and they are all well and truly hooked. I've never been a blue grass / country fan but this album has certainly converted me and I'm looking for more of the same. I just can't get enough.
Alison Krauss and Union Station just get better and better. New Favorite is a must for all fans. Alison's superb voice is complemented as ever with the sheer musicianship of Union Station. It was particularly good to hear Dan Tyminski taking some lead vocals as I have only ever heard him in support roles to Alison and other singers.