Saturday, July 3, 2010

Alison Krauss & Union Station: So Long So Wrong (1997)

(As published in Real Groove ... )

Alison Krauss and Union Station
So Long So Wrong

For Alison Krauss, following-up her Grammy-winning best-of Now That I've Found You must have been daunting. What were the odds, after all, that the sequel to one of the best bluegrass albums of the '90's would live up to expectations? Neither Krauss nor Union Station sound daunted on So Long So Wrong. Their touch is as light and relaxed as ever. But they don't always sound focused either, and the reason may be as simple as Krauss's desire to be perceived as a group member (the acronym "AKUS" gets production and arrangement credit) instead of as a solo artist. To this end, she surrenders the lead vocals of five songs to her guitarist, Dan Tyminski, a likable fellow who might wow 'em on open-mic night but who won't have agents banging down his door. Of the eight that Krauss sings, three belong on her next best-of. "Deeper Than Crying" and "Find My Way Back to My Heart" (both written by Mark Simos) prove that nothing suits her like a melancholy melody and lyrics about lost love, and "There Is a Reason" proves that nothing suits her like a Ron Block gospel song. As the possessor of the most beautiful voice in roots music today, Krauss has no business sharing lead-vocal duties. Here's hoping she gets over her democracy kick and starts acting like a benevolent-dictator again soon.

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