In 1994, Alison Krauss was tapped to take part in Keith Whitley: Tribute an album marking five years since the singer’s tragic death in 1989 at age 33. Along with her band Union Station Krauss recorded Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz’s “When You Say Nothing At All,” a #1 hit for Whitley in 1988. Krauss gave a delicate reading of the song that helped it stand out and get her noticed as one of the best vocalists and song interpreters in Nashville. Capitalizing on unsolicited airplay, BNA Records released Krauss’ version as a single in January 1995. Peaking at #3 Krauss had a monster hit on her hands and mainstream exposure for the first time.
The track was also included on Krauss’ own Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection, a ‘Greatest Hits’ album of sorts that was comprised of tracks from her previous Rounder releases that were fan favorites and a few newly recorded numbers. Thanks to the come-from-nowhere success of “When You Say Nothing At All,” the album was a big hit, eventually selling more then 2 million copies.
The success of the single and album carried over to the 1995 CMA Awards, where Krauss was nominated for Single of the Year (“When You Say Nothing At All”), Vocal Event of The Year (“Somewhere In The Vicinity of The Heart” her #7 peaking duet with Shenandoah) and both Horizon and Female Vocalist. Krauss would go on to win in each of her categories. Originally, though, the Country Music Association also had Now That I Found You: A Collection up for Album of The Year, which she no doubt would’ve won except for a slight problem – the album is a collection and was therefore deemed ineligible. The sixth album on the voter’s list, Patty Loveless’ When Fallen Angels Fly replaced Krauss on the ballot and much to everyone’s surprise, walked away with the trophy.
The album was worthy in its own right, a collection or not. “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You,” a bluegrass cover of the Foundations’ classic served as the lead single and while it wasn’t a radio smash, the track has become very popular over the years. Similar in style to “When You Say Nothing At All” it worked thanks to it’s unfussy straightforward manner. Krauss very deservedly won a Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy for her recording.
The second and final single was “Oh, Atlanta,” composed by Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs. More rootsy country than bluegrass, “Oh, Atlanta” allows Krauss to give a twang-filled vocal that was a marked departure for her. The results are stunning, with Krauss showing she can easily pull off just about any vocal style with ease. I’ll admit I had a harder time getting into this one at first, but it’s damn near a revelation.
The final newly-recorded number is Sidney and Suzanne Cox’s “Broadway,” a beautiful rootsy ballad about a singer reflecting on how far they’ve come since moving to Nashville and getting their start on Music City’s famed Broadway. Solely due to execution this may be one of the strongest recordings of its ilk thanks to the winning combination of the Cox’s lyric and Krauss’ brilliant delivery. “Broadway” is the forgotten gem of the new tracks on Now That I’ve Found You swallowed by the more famous title track and “When You Say Nothing At All.” It’s unfortunate because of all the new songs on the album, it’s easily the best hands down.
In March 1995, Krauss gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times where she spoke about the success she was experiencing:
“It’s a freak thing. It’s kinda ticklin’ us all. We haven’t had anything really chart before. At all. Isn’t it funny though? We don’t know what’s goin’ on….The office said, ‘Hey, it’s charting,’ and we’re like, ‘Huh?'”
Now That I Found You: A Collection did mark the turning point in Krauss’ career, allowing her to branch our artistically in the coming decades adding her voice to many a movie soundtrack and even singing at the Academy Awards. Unlike most singers who chase fame, Krauss hasn’t changed at all; she’s just added some new colors and dimensions to her already impressive catalog. But Now That I Found You is an excellent album in its own right and a must have for any fan of Krauss’ music.