When you hear the name Alison Krauss, one can only expect the best in country music. However, the past few years have been silent since Krauss and her band mates in Union Station released 2004’s Grammy winning Lonely Runs Both Ways. Unless you count 2007’s electrifying collaboration with Robert Plant, Raising Sand, which boasted another six Grammys. And now with their latest release, Paper Airplane, Krauss and team have once again risen the bar to the next impossible level.
Paper Airplane is a magnetic, 11 track album filled with breathtaking vocals about love and heartbreak on par with charming instrumentals that reflect the concept that love conquers all. The album holds the American bluegrass roots that we know and love, but goes beyond all musical genres. Krauss picks up fiddle while holding down the vocals. Barry Bales compliments with harmony vocals and on bass. Dan Tyminiksi shares leading vocals and brings in the mandolin and guitar. Ron Block is on the banjo, and Jerry Douglas picks up the dobro to contribute harmony vocals rounding out the album completely.
Kicking off Paper Airplane is Krauss’s lavishly soft spoken vocals in the title track. Slowly setting the mood for the remainder of the album and bookended in the same appropriate manner as it was opened is Krauss’s cover of Jackson Browne’s “My Opening Farewell.” The stand out of the album is her eloquent version of Richard Thompson’s “Dimming Of The Day.” Krauss’s lachrymose voice resonates and stays with you long after the song’s ended.
There is a reason why Alison Krauss and Union Station are not only Grammy contenders, but bonafide winners. Paper Airplane is no exception, and with a chemistry so rare, it’s a true bluegrass masterpiece.