Top positive review
40 people found this helpful
Update your collection of Alison's music with this great compilation.
on 10 August 2007
This is a lovely album, though quite different from what we normally get from Alison Krauss. Do not expect a bluegrass album, though one or more members of the superb Union Station appear on 10 of the 16 tracks. The lively hoedown 'Sawing on The Strings' is the nearest we get to a bluegrass song, with twin fiddles from Alison and Stuart Duncan. The brilliant Jerry Douglas appears on 6 of the tracks, and I was particularly taken by his lap steel sound on tracks 2 and 16. None of the songs here have appeared on any of Alison's own albums. Some will be familiar to many, however, particularly 'Down To The Valley To Pray' from 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?', sung a cappella with a choir of mostly well-known names billed as the First Baptist Church Choir Of White House, Tennessee. There's also 'Molly Ban (Bawn)' from The Chieftains' album 'Down The Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions', the atmospheric 'The Scarlet Tide' and 'You Will Be My Ain True Love' from the film 'Cold Mountain', and 'How's The World Treating You', a duet with James Taylor I first heard on a tribute album to the Louvin Brothers. Also perhaps familiar to some will be Alison's duet with Brad Paisley on 'Whiskey Lullaby', a country hit for Jon Randall, who co-wrote the song with veteran legendary songwriter Bill Anderson. This is one of those typical stone country songs that seem rather maudlin to my UK ears. It has a strong melody and is here sung sincerely and without irony. There are 5 new songs, tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 16, all extremely good, which to me make an otherwise very good album into an essential one for any fan of Alison's music. The album starts and ends with 2 songs associated with Don Williams, here given a beautiful, slower reading. Alison's distinctive, expressive voice makes them sound as if they are brand new. The latter, 'Lay Down Beside Me', is the second of 2 duets with John Waite, which work very well. With this song, and the duet with JT you'll be able to sing the harmony lines, as they are so distinctive. In addition to the Don Williams covers, my own favourite track is the wonderful 'Get Me Through December' with some lovely fiddle playing from Natalie MacMaster. A real treat. The accompanying 16-page booklet is very informative and gives all track details.
A worthy collection, in my view, which though quite varied, hangs together well. With 16 tracks totalling over 67 minutes, it's very good value too.