There exists a battle in the arts: the duality of the pure and the commodity; the passion and the product. This, certainly, is no different with records. There are ingenious albums, those that have the ability to flaunt moments of unfiltered humanity, even if just for a second — over the proper chord, in between the perfect pocket, underlined with the right note. That flair of sincere passion gleams like the passing reflection of blinding light and creates moments. They’re hard to miss. Then, of course, there are albums that go for $14.99 at your local Target, complete with “deluxe” straight-to-DVD features and quarter-baked cover artwork reminiscent of Abercrombie ads. In gray circumstances, nonetheless, we sometimes find these two worlds intersect — as is the case with Alison Krauss’s Windy City.
...title track from Alison Krauss's latest record
At her best, Krauss taps into beloved Nashville staples and reawakens the moments that cemented their place as country keepsakes. The Eddy Arnold–written, Ray Charles–popularized “You Don’t Know Me” album closer is covered proof. At her worst, Krauss plays like a Dixie-drenched Michael Bublé, forever trapped in the easy-listening cave of the Seasonal aisle or on-display to the world via a Starbucks counter. This includes instrumentation, vocals, and production so spectacular and so polished that it’s seemingly rubbed all the flesh and personality down to a clean, sparkling, gray bone. This is the power of commercialization and it’s threat to creativity, and although the fighting breaths of Krauss’s artistry can be felt throughout, the grip of safety ultimately proves powerful. Your grandma will probably love it, though.
- Record: Windy City
- Artist: Alison Krauss
- Label: Capitol Records
- Songs: (1) Losing You (2) It's Goodbye And So Long To You (3) Windy City (4) I Never Cared For You (5) River in the Rain (6) Dream of Me (7) Gentle on My Mind (8) All Alone Am I (9) Poison Love (10) You Don't Know Me — Live: (11) Windy City (12) River in the Rain (13) Losing You (14) I Never Cared For You