Alison Krauss & Union Station: Paper Airplane

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For all the plaudits and prizes her Raising Sand collaboration with Robert Plant attracted, there are diehard Krauss fans out there who’ve been itching for her to return to the bosom of her long- standing band and a purer bluegrass sound.

Paper Airplane is their first album together since 2004’s Lonely Runs Both Ways – which won three Grammys, compared to the five of the Plant hook-up – and it’s yet another democratic affair.

Despite the Krauss name being (as always) singled out on the sleeve, the prairie whine of guitar/mandolin player Dan Tyminski’s lead vocal gives the collection much of its character, especially on the hardship lament of Dustbowl Children and plaintive gallop of On The Outside Looking In.

Union Station continue to pull off the impressive trick of connecting with the roots and traditions of country music stretching back over a century, while still sounding fresh as next week’s milk. It’s all beautifully played, full of light and shade and depth, and only the hardest heart won’t shed a tear when Krauss’s fragile voice echoes across Richard & Linda Thompson’s Dimming Of The Day.