Shop now Shop now</arg> Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£7.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 12 April 2011
Paper Airplane marks Alison's fourteenth album and is a storming return to form for the angelic voiced 27 Grammy Award winner and her band Union Station. The title track pretty much has the classic AKUS sound and feel to it and is currently receiving plenty of radio airplay although there are plenty of other gems to be found here. Dust Bowl Children has Dan Tyminski's drawling southern vocals on an upbeat tune if somewhat slightly depressed lyric although it makes for great foot tapping stuff. Lie Awake is a slower and darker song with velvety vocals and subtle fiddle from Alison while Lay My Burden Down comes in as a more upbeat tune with a bleak lyric hidden amongst finger picking guitar. My Love Follows You Where You Go is the real gem on this album with a complex vocal and great hook to the chorus, upbeat and tuneful with angst painted all over it. Classic AKUS. Dimming Of The Day is beautiful cover of the Richard Thompson song reminiscent of "Ghost in this house". On The Outside Looking In is Tyminski's second solo vocal here, bluegrass style aplenty. Miles To Go is an up tempo song with nice Dobro and fiddle work. Sinking Stone is another gem with a more complex vocal and composition than some of the other tunes here. Not strictly a bluegrass sound, more a country/pop tune with a late seventies sound to the vocal and melody. Bonita has Dan Tyminski sing a typical country tune with a western style theme while the final track, My Opening farewell, showcases Alison's vocal ability with smooth storytelling and a medium paced melody. Musicianship throughout the recording is as usual top notch, Jerry Douglas' Dobro sounds even better than ever. This album should see Alison Krauss add a few more Grammy's to her collection. Highly recommended!
22 comments| 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Alison Krauss is effortlessly a class act and one of the great voices of American music. Here on her 14th album and first with Union Station since 2004 she yet again shows that as a vocalist operating in the field of country and bluegrass music that she largely untouchable. You could possibly argue that following the great "Raising Sand" recorded with Robert Plant that an opportunity is missed here for some deeper experimentation which follows some of more raw explorations on that album such as the Tom Waits covers, but really who cares when the songs are this good and that voice quite as beautiful as it is? Krauss and Union Station are have been described as the gold standard for bluegrass music and on "Paper Airplane" you do sense much more of a band effort with three lead vocals undertaken by guitarist Dan Tyminski, and the cover of Peter Rowan's "Dust bowl children" in particular a fine epic of finger picking banjo/guitar and authenticity not heard since the "Oh Brother where art thou" soundtrack was safely tucked into a record sleeve. Tyminski's rustic voice again figures on the bluesy "On the outside looking in" to great effect.

However let us delay no further and get into Krauss territory. When it comes to Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the day" there is already the great original sung by folk queen Linda Thompson with her ex husbands gloriously rugged support, a stellar version by Bonnie Raitt and slightly less fabulous versions by Dave Gilmour and The Corrs. The song could have been written for an aching longing voice like Krauss's and by god does she do it justice with lovely understated country backing from Union Station. It is stunning stuff and an absolute standout. The title track has a beautiful wintry feel and Krauss voice soars on a huge chorus which tugs on your emotions while Jerry Douglas' Dobro playing shows a master in the craft. The cover of Jackson Browne's "My opening farewell" from his debut recorded in 1972, which he has sung in the past as a duet with Bonnie Raitt, is a great folk rock version of the song and when she intones that "There is a train everyday leaving either way" and "We'll soon be gone, its just as well" you feel the pain of parting. On balance the original probably retains a slight edge although Krauss should be thanked for reminding us in turn what great treasure trove can be found in the many Browne albums. Other highlights here include the gentle pair of wistful ballads of which first up is "Lay my burden down" and secondly a song which has the words "country standard" stamped all over it, namely the classic heartbreak ballad "Sinking stone" which again Krauss's voice infuses with the requisite necessary measures of warmth and latent regret. The production of "Paper Airplane" sounds as crisp and clear as a Appalachian stream and the musicianship is located firmly in the premier division (you wouldn't really expect any different). Seeing Alison Krauss live a few years back on stage with Robert Plant performing "Raising sand" and much more live was a thrill and her concert version of "Down to the river to pray" left your reviewer smitten for life. Thus while this album marks a return to more familiar territory it is an evocative collection by Krauss and a band of musicians who are by any standards bluegrass royalty.
22 comments| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 April 2011
Yet another highly professional performance from AKUS. Fans will know what to expect, newcomers will be amazed by the quality which exudes from the various tracks. I would of course have liked to have found more than 11 tracks (especially as there is apparently a deluxe version available in the USA with 6 bonus tracks). Also, I was disappointed that the booklet does not show the lyrics - and these are not yet available on-line from the usual sources.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 14 April 2011
That's the only word for it. There's more emotion in Alison Krauss' voice than a hundred x-factor winners. Union Station, her band, are are consumate musicians. What sort of music is it? I dunno. Bluegrass? Folk? Blues? It's all those. Krauss' wonderful soprano voice carries through with a purity I've rarely heard.
Highly recommended.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 April 2011
The group's posing for this album cover is the most stylised feature of an otherwise simple and unaffected offering.

Paper Airplane is predictable in delivering classic soft and soothing country from Krauss' tender vocals and the immaculate instrumental support of Union Station. The album is to a degree a two-parter with songs proferred by Krauss' sweet singing, and those from Dan Tyminski's more bluegrass vocalese and barn-dance leanings. Nothing new here, and in a sense that's why we like what is performed, time and time again.

A good example of what I am characterising is the unadorned rendition of Richard Thompson's 'Dimming of the Day'. I was waiting for the AK&US hallmark harmony vocals to reference those so vital in this song's original emotive impact, but apart from the gesture of one subdued shared line, the song is a Krauss solo played straight and true and simply. Again, nothing new and nothing wrong here. It's just something I noticed and thought about.

Indeed, the only question one would ask of this perfect latest release is why isn't Alison sharing the shared stare of the others on the album's cover? That's a real poser.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 April 2011
(not really a disappointment, but also not an unalloyed pleasure). So said the music critic of the "Basler Zeitung", one of the local rags. I tend not to believe music critics, or indeed art, theatre, cinema and book critics, who appear to write mainly to get "cred" with other critics, and not to inform The Great Unwashed, in comparison with whom they are SO much cleverer. Their tendency to over-intellectualise things reminds me of the joke of the art critic waxing lyrical about the profundity of how a painting of three naked black men, one with a white penis, represented the emasculation of African-Americans by the whites, only to be told by the artist that he had simply painted three Scottish coal miners, one of whom had gone home for lunch...

In this case, the writer was complaining that Alison Krauss hadn't progressed after the "Raising Sand" collaboration with Robert Plant, and had gone back to the safety of her roots. Oddly enough, it wasn't so long ago that a critic for the UK "Guardian" newspaper was moaning precisely the reverse, that Ms. Krauss should stick to bluegrass. There's no pleasing some people.

However, I have to admit that the "Basler Zeitung" critic has a point. It must be said that Ms Krauss sings as gorgeously as ever - I'm convinced that this girl could sing the telephone book and make it sound good. And Union Station plays as marvellously as ever, and Dan Tyminski (who gets three numbers) sings as well as ever in his great bluegrass voice. In short, they sound great, and you just know that they will sound just as beautiful and polished on stage. No, the problem is the material. No matter how well performed it is, it is indeed starting to sound the same. For example, in "My love follows you where you go", you hear something that is substantially the same as "My poor old heart" from "Lonely runs both ways". In many other songs, you hear echoes of previous songs on previous albums. And the ones that don't are pretty ordinary, rescued only by the brilliance of their execution. To me, the outstanding tracks are the title track and Jackson Browne's "My opening farewell". Aoife O'Donovan's "Lay my burden down" also gets a splendid treatment, another example of Ms. Krauss's astounding ability to make any song her own. Sadly, Ms Krauss doesn't get to show off her fiddling skills to any great extent, there are few of the dazzling dobro runs for which Jerry Douglas is renowned and there is no instrumental number, which AKUS do so well.

I start to suspect that AKUS has finally crashed against the boundaries of what is possible in the bluegrass genre, that they now have done it all and there's nothing left but variations of more of the same. In this case, the roots aren't so safe. AKUS will continue to wow people on stage for evermore with their flawless execution and terrific musicianship, but their records will become less worth acquiring. They really do need to break those boundaries.

In addition, 11 tracks is rather short measure. I gather that AKUS released a special edition available only through Target in the USA, with about 6 more tracks, including some live ones. This seems like a rip-off on the part of the record company.
77 comments| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
...and that's just Dan Tyminski. Actually, Dan sounds at times uncannily like George Jones, but then the Master influenced most country singers.
This may well be - as some have implied - more of the same (though I don't really agree) but if 'the same' is as gorgeous as this, then bring it on. When you have a singer with a voice of near-perfect loveliness like Alison Krauss, a dobro player of the calibre of Jerry Douglas, and a second singer as good as Dan K, you know you're onto a winner.
I've yet to hear a below par album by the band, and this sounds to me like one of their most thoughtful, evocative records to date.
Alison sings most of the songs, with Dan taking lead on a handful. The combination of their two voices is heard to good advantage on some tracks too. Many of the songs on this 2011 release are slow and contemplative, giving it a grave beauty.
If you have the Exclusive Deluxe Edition as I do (as usual Amazon has lumped all the reviews together, whatever the edition) you're rewarded with six extra tracks, three of them from their album Live, which seems a bit odd, but as I don't have that one I'm not complaining.
I was fortunate enough to see Alison Krauss and Union Station in Manchester about ten years ago, and will never forget what a great gig it was, and how hilarious Alison is between songs. (You'd never think to look at her!) To have their music on so many CDs now is to be able to listen to some of the loveliest music being made right now.
There are two excellent cover versions that I should mention: Jackson Browne's My Opening Farewell and Richard Thompson's Dimming of the Day, both ideally suited to the sweetly plaintive soprano of Ms Krauss. They also do a Tim O'Brien song, and the band's banjo player Ron Block sings his own Faraway Land. And there's much else besides.
Alison K has one of the most captivating voices in the world, and she shows why on this lovingly put together album.

0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 13 April 2011
Over the past few years, it's become obvious to me that Alison Krauss and her band don't just make music, they understand it. That's been absolutely key to the generation of such wonderful structure in their albums and the songs on them. They know when a song needs the traditional touch or when a tune needs Douglas' dobro to smash its way through, and Alison knows when to give way to Tyminski's increasingly rich vocals.

The result is that this album, unsurprisingly, contains a veritable showcase of how music should be made. It most certainly wasn't rushed (that was quite a gap since Lonely Runs Both Ways) and despite Krauss' recent commercialisation it remains solidly grounded. The band know who to call when it comes to production values too, and the result as ever is a warm, full sound that still knows how to be subtle.

The album's eponymous track, Paper Airplane, comes right at the start and does a sterling job of setting the stage. Krauss' almost haunting chorus vocals certainly make you take note, and Robert Lee Castleman's lyrical penmanship is especially noteworthy. Immediately following, we're introduced again to a more traditional bluegrass song from Tyminski who sounds more confident than previously, and rises to the occasion in spectacular fashion when called upon, a total of three times on the record.

Not wanting to go through tracks one by one, stand-out choices for me (other than the title track) would be: My Love Follows You Where You Go, a wonderfully blended tale of heartbreak and eternal longing; On The Outside Looking In, a Tyminski rendition of a Tim O'Brien-penned story about waiting for unrequited love; and Lie Awake, an entrancingly tuned and harmonised song about indecision in a relationship - are you noticing a pattern in subject matter yet?

It almost goes without saying that instrumentally the album is spot-on, with all band members showing true versatility. Similarly, harmony vocals range from punchy to hair-raising; Krauss is lucky to have the gents along for the ride in that regard. However, there's no instrumental! No equivalent to Choctaw Hayride or Unionhouse Branch. Newcomers may appreciate this, die-hards may not. Can we forgive them this once? Probably.

What is there to say in such short order as a summary? The album more than deserves its seat next to the previous successes. Alison Krauss and Union Station never fail to produce something spectacular when they get together. Just... can we not be made to wait over half a decade until the next one?
11 comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 September 2014
Now Alison makes me cry almost every time I hear her sing; she has the voice of an angel, but putting that aside, Paper Airplane is nothing short of a triumph in blue-grass music. The songs presented here are beautifully crafted and played to the usual high standard that you and I have come to expect, and they do nothing but take me away to that 'special place'. Superb!

Just an absolute joy.

Now where are the Kleenex?
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 March 2015
With this CD, Alison & Union Station once more confirm they are at the very top of the genre. It may take a few times listening the CD through to really appreciate the quality, but it is a gem. Jerry's dobro playing is much more subdued than usual, and it enhances (at least for me) the enjoyment of the music. Dan's lyrics are, as ever, compelling and Alison's voice is sometimes haunting, really great. This is a CD to be treasured....
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)