ALI­SON KRAUSS

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LIS­TEN: ‘Gen­tle On My Mind’

6/10

COUN­TRY STAN­DARDS COV­ERED BY BLUE­GRASS QUEEN

There’s an old joke about what hap­pens if you play a coun­try song back­wards: ap­par­ently, you get your dog back, your pick-up back and your lover re­turns as well.

Ali­son Krauss’ first solo al­bum in 18 years doesn’t do a lot to con­tra­dict that stereo­type, as she croons her way through ten cov­ers of coun­try and blue­grass stan­dards, pre­vi­ously recorded by the likes of Roger Miller and Glen Camp­bell, hand­picked by Krauss her­self, along with long­time friend, song­writer and pro­ducer, Buddy Can­non.

These are songs about bro­ken hearts, lonely nights and aching,

tear-filled eyes. The ti­tles alone can tell you a lot, with ‘All Alone Am I’ and ‘Los­ing You’ per­fect ex­am­ples of the type of string-drenched pathos that Nashville and Hol­ly­wood have made bil­lions from. There’s no doubt­ing the qual­ity of Krauss’ voice, which is never short of stel­lar, as she wrings ev­ery drop of sen­ti­ment from these al­ready over­wrought lyrics.

“Don’t sigh your sigh for me/ Don’t ever cry for me/ This is good­bye from me/ I know we’re through,” she croons on the open­ing ‘Los­ing You’. This pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the al­bum, from Roger Miller’s maudlin ‘River In The Rain’ to the tear-stained ti­tle track and the aching ‘You Don’t Know Me’, penned by Cindy Walker and Ed­die Arnold. High­lights in­clude Wil­lie Nel­son’s ‘I Never Cared For You’, given a Latin twist, and Glen Camp­bell’s su­perb ‘Gen­tle On My Mind’.

The tone is a lit­tle uni­form, al­though there’s a wel­come change of pace with the brassy blue­grass of ‘It’s Good­bye And So Long To You’, most pop­u­larly recorded by The Os­bourne Brothers, and the rol­lick­ing hoe­down of ‘Poi­son Love’, made fa­mous by the late Bill Mon­roe, the fa­ther of blue­grass.

Krauss ob­vi­ously loves these songs deeply and her ren­di­tions are never short on qual­ity, but this lis­tener would have loved to hear one or two Krass orig­i­nals to bal­ance out the schmaltz.

OUT MARCH 3 / JOHN WALSHE

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