With a discography that’s already an arm length’s long, American country singer Alison Krauss returns with the ten-track LP ‘Windy City’ that mashes up bluegrass, soul and country into a heady package of strong, relaxing and very listenable songs, beginning with the simple yet heart-breaking ‘Losing You’, that sounds like the best Nina Simone country cover you never heard. Well written and emotionally delivered, with subtle hints of country, this is a delightfully touching introduction to the album.
Second song ‘It’s Goodbye and So Long to You’ is a much more upbeat affair, its jaunty country-jig rhythm and very hooky sing-a-long chorus make this a stand out track. The title track that follows shifts the tempo back down again for a smooth country-ballad whilst the darkly titled ‘I Never Cared for You’ is a Mamas and the Papas sound-a-like with a stripped back vibe that gives way for something a little more sultry. ‘River in the Rain’ is a more traditional slow song with plenty of power and heart in Krauss’ delivery of the words.
Into the second half and we get the Dolly Parton-like ‘Dream of Me’, which is one of my favourites album, thanks to its well-produced harmonies, touching lyrics and spot-on delivery. ‘Gentle on my Mind’ is another well-pitched gentle ballad with story-telling lyrics and feels much older – nay, classic – than you’d expect. ‘All Alone Am I’, track eight, goes a little Broadway musical with soaring strings’ whilst country is the order of the day for ‘Poison Love’, another foot-stomper with a great rhythm.
Final track ‘You Don’t Know Me’ ties up the album well with a beautiful, slow, stripped-back closer, shutting the door on a relaxing and evocative album that’s a must hear. (7.5/10)