Alison Krauss and Union Station’s newest album, Paper Airplane, Soars
Paper Airplane, released last week, is Alison Krauss and Union Station’s follow up to the triple GRAMMY® winning Lonely Runs Both Ways. Krauss and the band compiled a collection of superb Bluegrass songs, some steeped in old tradition like “Dust Bowl Children”, and others so easy to relate to that you feel the ache in her voice, such as “Lie Awake” and “Dimming of the Day”. This is Krauss’ first release since her Robert Plant collaboration “Raising Sand”, which won Record of the Year and Album of the Year at the GRAMMYS® in 2007.
With Krauss on fiddle, Barry Bales on acoustic bass, Jerry Douglas on Dobro (resonator guitar) and lap steel, Ron Block on banjo and guitar, as well as Dan Tyminski on guitar and mandolin, and most of the band singing harmony vocals with Krauss—this certainly is a full band, ready to spin some timeless tales in an old-fashioned style. Some songs were selected by the band, and others were written particularly for the album, such as the title track, by songwriter Robert Lee Castleman, and “Lie Awake” by Krauss’ brother Viktor Krauss and lyricist Angel Snow.
After multiple listens to this emotionally and musically rich album, a line that especially resonates in my mind is—“I won’t pretend that it’s not killing me, watching you walk away slow” from the song “My Love Follows You Where You Go”. A similarly regretful line in the hushed and soulful “Lie Awake” that you may find echoing in your head is: “How do I lie awake now, when nothing’s right and nothing’s wrong? How do I lie awake now, when I’ve got to be moving on?” Krauss’ voice is pure and direct, and the album offers an interesting contrast in songs with Tyminski on lead vocals. On songs such as “On the Outside Looking In” and “Bonita and Bill Butler” he sings with power and an inflection that brings the “down-home” vibe of their music full circle. Tyminski recorded the O Brother Where Out Thou? soundtrack with Krauss, and sung for George Clooney’s character on songs such as “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”.
Complete with a gorgeous set of black and white photos on the CD booklet which set the band in a Woody Guthrie era farmhouse, this album is sure to spark the ears of listeners beyond just roots and country music fans.