Alison Krauss: The Golden Girl

Written by May 2nd, 2011 at 8:00 am

These days, many Nashville-based artists co-write their own material with big name songwriters so they can share a piece of the royalty pie in times of declining CD sales. But the truth is, a lot of those co-writes can’t match the work of people whose calling in life is to create high-quality songs above anything else. Alison Krauss, in her work as a solo artist, with Robert Plant, and, of course, with the band Union Station, has always wisely left the writing up to others with that gift, choosing to focus on her own peerless vocal and instrumental abilities. She continues this philosophy on the new album from Alison Krauss and Union Station, Paper Airplane.

“Some of the tunes that have come my way, like Robert Lee Castleman’s songs, it’s like, I have to sing that song,” says Krauss. “It’s like I don’t want to go into the studio if I don’t.” Castleman is responsible for the title track of Paper Airplane, recorded for Krauss’ longtime label home Rounder Records. Other songwriters represented on the new disc include Jackson Browne (“My Opening Farewell”) and Sidney Cox of bluegrass’s Cox Family (“Bonita and Bill Butler”). The album only includes two tracks by active Music Row staff writers: “Miles And Miles To Go” by Chris Stapleton (Kenny Chesney) and Union Station bass player Barry Bales, and “My Love Follows You Where You Go,” by Barry Dean (Martina McBride) and Liz Rose (Taylor Swift) with folk/Americana artist Lori McKenna.

Krauss says that she has never felt the need to write herself, especially when there is such a wealth of material available from writers whose work resonates with her. “The material certain folks write just speaks to me,” she says. “I’ve known Sidney since I was 16, and hearing the Cox Family’s music changed my life. When I heard Robert Lee Castleman sing I knew I would never be the same person. You don’t listen to music the same way again after hearing certain people.”

With 26 Grammy awards, more than any other female artist (or any singer in any genre), Krauss is admired by vocalists and instrumentalists alike for her angelic voice, wise choice of material, and prowess as a fiddler, which brought her into the spotlight as a young performer at bluegrass festivals and other events. Signing with Rounder at age 14, Krauss says the fiddle was top priority. Singing came later.

“I was a fiddle player first,” she says. “But when I started singing I loved it, especially when I started singing harmony.”

Given her bluegrass roots, one might wonder if a straight-ahead bluegrass album is in her future. Krauss says she would love the idea, but only if it were done with the band she is obviously so loyal to.

“I think about it all the time,” she says. “All the time. But with the way I sing and the stuff we do it really couldn’t be straight-ahead. I couldn’t pretend that it was, but it could be our version of it. Those are the most romantic, picturesque songs in the world in terms of putting you in another place and another time. The feelings I have connected with those songs, and the images they bring to my mind, mean so much. But that kind of record would have to be within the band and we’d bring other folks in as guests.”

In 2007 Krauss won a Grammy with Robert Plant for the T Bone Burnett-produced Raising Sand, which was named Album of the Year. But Krauss says that another album with Plant isn’t on the horizon anytime soon. “We actually had gone in to cut one but it just wasn’t time,” she says. “But Robert’s very busy with his record (Band of Joy) and I’m very busy with this one. So there’s really nothing in the works right now.”

At the end of the day, the song’s definitely what matters to Krauss. “There are just people whose work I love,” she says. “People like (Union Station member) Ron Block, Angel Snow…it just depends on where I am in life. I never know until it gets there. You love what you love; it’s a very personal thing.”

  • Monte

    Another excellent piece!! Nice work, Bro!!

  • Pingback: Alison Krauss, “Paper Airplanes” | American Songwriter

  • Pingback: The Top Ten Bands We’re Excited To See At Bonnaroo | American Songwriter

  • Pingback: Alison Krauss bliver fyrre | MIDT I EN BEATTID

  • http://www.alisonkrauss.de Broken Silence

    Alison Krauss !

    Sandra got this message the whole story you will get by Will Smit… . The familly for a left germany was not at the airport and looked at me i was at first on the streets and checked in a hotel close the airport and after that they all got the message i am in the hotel and i have to leave the hotel to come there and keep me away to them i left all 65 centers and all in germany and gave it away as gift and left with 1000 Euros…… the country forever for the familly and for the girl to be my wife. They all was not at te airport arrounnd the Clock and nobody was at the arround to look at me and i was after that on the streets they got the message i am leaving all in germany and coming and she can be my wife i left all for them forever and they know i am here with 100 Dollars. But i came with 1000 Euros that was my day rescueded me to check in a hotel and now in a hostel because of the help of the nice guys in the hotel days inn in Santa Monica with the last 300 Dollars. Please you got all informations from Will Smit…. . I want to see you too. Today care about it i need your support too i am so tired because of walk on the long streets. Sandra got it too today connecting hurry up there is no time to loose you know girl you know it´s true. Sandra Bullock ! Girl You Know It´s True ! Sandra there is not time to loose today connecting Will Smit… and he got all informations you have to know it. I want to see you Kirsten Dunst, of course you Sandra, Oliver Ston…, Stephen Spielb…., Clint EastWoo…., AngeliJoliand Brad, Kevin Kevin Costner submitted message to him too i want to see him too, Andre Young Dre, Timbaland, Sean Comb…, JayZ, BeyonceAndTinaKnowles, i want to see you and so close as you can to me. All that happened i can not believe that. Sandra i am so tired: this is the new address the nice guys in the hotel Days Inn Santa Monica helped me to check in the hotel: Santa Monica Hostel 1436 2nd. St. 90401 Los Angeles Santa Monica. USA. Tel: 1 310 393 99 13. That is the address a can stay from today to Thursday. I am so tired now today there is no time to loose connecting Will and got all the messages to know please and i am here waiting and so tired. There is no time to loose do not be confused please you know Alison i want to see Alicia too Alicia Keys please care about there is no time to loose. You know: GIRL YOU KNOW IT´S TRUE !

  • http://www.alisonkrauss.de Broken Silence

    Alison Kraus !

    Will did you know that looks like not their mistake, because the submitting comments are blanked automatic by the computer internet or someome blanked all out extra and could not know i when i am arriving and i am here. I checked it out and that are the first results. I am in the hostel you know you got it all. Hurry up there is no time to loose Big Will there is no time to loose. Willow the first results crazy girl. Just relaxe because i am gonna proof it and want more informations and more results. But this results are enough for me to know that all happend was not their mistakes. You got it now the first rersults. There is not time to loose what are you doing. There is not time to loose you got it all happend and i can not believe that happend crazy i do want to accept that all happend that is impossible. Now you know . You got it all happend.

Tags: , , ,

Related Articles