Pop & Rock

Alison & Company Aloft


Four years after Raising Sand, her six-time Grammy-winning collaboration with Robert Plant, fiddler/vocalist Alison Krauss has reunited with Union Station for the release of Paper Airplane, an 11-song set on Rounder that showcases the band's ability to explore the subtle shades that separate country, folk and pop.

It's the first studio project for Krauss and the band since the 2004 release of Lonely Runs Both Ways -- which won three Grammys of its own -- but they have no trouble picking up where they left off seven years ago and crafting a brilliant recording.

The title track opens the set on a quiet, melancholy note, but the followup, "Dust Bowl Children" -- although grim in its lyrical content (delivered by guitarist Dan Tyminski) and unforgiving imagery -- follows a more rhythmic and churning bluegrass groove.

Other tracks to note include the melodic "Lay My Burden Down," a stirring account of the transition to the hereafter, and "On The Outside Looking In," a track sung by Tyminski that is equal parts bitter and ambivalent as the singer asks hard questions about where he stands in a long and contentious relationship. "Miles To Go," despite a country arrangement, settles into a comfortable pop groove, while the closer, "My Opening Farewell" paints an intimate portrait of the final goodbye between parting lovers.

Krauss got an early start in the business, signing with Rounder at age 14 in 1985, selling more than 12 million album in the years since, and scoring 26 Grammys along the way. Her airplane may be made of nothing more than paper, but she's having no trouble staying aloft for the long haul.

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