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Alison Krauss

New Favorite – 2001 (Rounder)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss' new release continues her tradition of alternating solo and band albums. Though not strictly a bluegrass album, it definitely has more of a bluegrass feel than 1999's "Forget About It."

One of Krauss' many strengths has been her ability to find good writers with songs that suit her vocal style. Among the best songs here are the hauntingly beautiful title cut, written by Gillian Welch, Mark Simos' "Take Me For Longing" and Robert Lee Castleman's "Let Me Touch You Awhile" and "The Lucky One." Her voice is in fine form throughout.

Krauss sings lead on only 7 of the 13 tracks, again showing herself more than willing to share the spotlight with her Union Station bandmates. Dan Tyminiski, whose star is shining bright these days thanks to "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" steps forward on some of the more bluegrassy cuts, including "Mama Cried," "Bright Sunny South" and "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn." Banjo man Ron Block sings lead on "It All Comes Down to You," and dobro whiz Jerry Douglas helps Krauss and the band rip things up on the instrumental, "Choctaw Hayride." Krauss is the consummate bandleader. She knows how to take advantage of her own strengths, as well as the strengths of those around her, to make great music. The result here is a finely crafted, and very enjoyable album.