Alison Krauss took to music at an early age when she studied classical violin before switching her attention to bluegrass. At fourteen years of age, Krauss released her debut album and hasn’t stopped in the thirty years since. Windy City is her first solo effort away from her band Union Station in almost two decades.
None of the songs on Windy City were written by Krauss, instead opting to interpret a set of classic songs that were selected with producer Buddy Cannon. And the savant doesn’t pick up her violin too often as she focusses on delivering a silky vocal performance from the first note to the last. You can’t be a bonafide country artist unless you can sing tunes that tug at the heartstrings and Krauss is no exception being the master of a melancholy, point in case a ballad such as River In The Rain.
There are moments when Krauss sounds like Emmylou Harris and It’s Goodbye And So Long To You is given the type of treatment that Gram Parsons would have been delighted to have under his Cosmic American Music banner. None of the songs on Windy City were written less than 30 years ago, but each is given a crisp new casing by the classy Krauss. It would be nigh on impossible to turn out a version of Gentle On My Mind that is better than Glen Campbell’s, but Krauss’ take isn’t too far shy of that high mark.
With each new release, Krauss is establishing a more sizeable hairdo that has now reached a point where she could be starring in an eighties daytime soap opera, but when it comes to her tunes, she never makes a misstep. Windy City doesn’t break any new ground, and there is no bluegrass for the die hard fans, but it is as warm and comforting as your Grandma’s vegetable soup.