My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Alison Krauss- ‘Losing You’

hqdefaultFor her first solo LP in seventeen years, Alison Krauss’ prerogative was to make a country album featuring songs older than her. She enlisted the aid of Buddy Cannon, who brought the recording sessions to life in 2013. The ten-track collection, Windy City, will finally see release on February 17.

I’ve been longing for new music from Krauss ever since Paper Airplane back in 2011, hoping she would give us something new, not another ballad-driven album with Union Station. I love when she plays with tempo and texture and doesn’t rest comfortably in her signature style.

To kick off the new set, Krauss has graced us with ‘Losing You,’ the Brenda Lee classic from 1963. Lee’s hit recording, it should be noted, wasn’t a country one – it peaked top 10 in pop and adult contemporary. It’s an excellent recording, too, with Lee singing the fire out of the torch ballad, which was perfectly produced by Owen Bradley.

In approaching anything with Krauss’ voice on it, it’s very easy to be swept away by the beautiful marriage of the arrangement with her angelic vocal. The result is stunning – Cannon perfectly complements her with lush AC-leaning tones that afford her opportunity to soar. Technically, this record is perfection.

But like most cover tunes, I have trouble deciphering the newness that separates this version from the original. We all know Krauss is otherworldly, but does she bring enough of a bite to her vocal to allow us into the complexities within the lyric? Or is beauty masking our judgment towards thinking critically about the recording? I truly cannot find anything wrong with it, although I cannot get Paul tearing apart her Don Williams’ covers out of my head. I loved those (especially ‘You’re Just A Country Boy’) as much, if not more so than ‘Losing You.’

I cannot wait to see what the rest of Windy City has in store. ‘Losing You’ is a fantastic first taste of what appears is going to be another early highlight of this already interesting year.

Grade: A

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6 responses to “Single Review: Alison Krauss- ‘Losing You’

  1. Ken January 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Nice review but you may have over-analyzed this one a bit. Two basic things that I listen for the first time I hear a new recording is 1) Is it a good song and 2) Does the performance make you believe the lyrics. The answer is yes on both counts. But then Alison always provides a convincing performance whenever she has strong material to work with.

    As for remake aspect of this song I’ll wager that most folks these days are not familiar with Brenda Lee’s original so I doubt that many are making that comparison. “Losing You” holds the distinction of being Brenda’s final top ten U.S. pop hit [#6 in May 1963] The song has pretty much been lost to time as few oldies stations kept it in rotation during the past 50+ years. Other than “I’m Sorry” and a certain Christmas song you seldom hear Brenda’s voice on pop oldies radio. Also the song was recorded by just a few other artists back in the day that only released it as an LP track. That said compared to Brenda’s version I think Alison more than holds her own. Her expressive vocal contains plenty of emotion and power and I loved the use of steel guitar just before the closing lines where Don Sheffield’s soaring trumpet embellished the original. Great new version of a classic song.

  2. Paul W Dennis January 11, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t apologize for my review of the album which contained the Don Williams covers – it really wasn’t an album at all, but rather a collection of tracks from hither and you. I do like Alison and have all of her albums except the one with John Waite. I regard her very highly, behind only Rhonda Vincent and Dale Ann Bradley among female bluegrass vocalist.

    This is a very nice cover. I do remember the Brenda Lee version, but as Ken noted , it is very rare to hear that recording played, and it is nice to hear someone revive the song. Alison’s version is neither better nor worse than Brenda’s version, just different (and very worthy)

  3. Luckyoldsun January 11, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    If the standard is believing the lyrics, I’d go for Brenda Lee’s version, hands down.
    Allison is note-perfect, but sounds like a musicologist in her approach.
    Brenda Lee sounds like she lived it.

    • Ken January 12, 2017 at 8:45 am

      “Allison is note-perfect, but sounds like a musicologist in her approach.”

      A “musicologist?” Really?

      musicologist: an expert in or student of music as an academic subject, as opposed to someone trained in performance or composition.

      Alison is a superb PERFORMER with a long history of wonderful recordings. You are entitled to your personal preference of Brenda Lee’s version but to tag Alison’s recording as “note perfect” but sounding like a musicologist is contradictory because a musicologist could not be “note perfect.” Another oddball observation in your long (and unfortunately still growing) history of oddball observations.Only you could find fault in this excellent and expressive performance.

  4. Luckyoldsun January 14, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    I understand how traumatic it was for you, but I think you’ll survive having read my comment, which voiced an opinion somewhat different from yours. I have faith in you, Kenny.

    • Ken January 14, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      Nothing that you say is ever traumatic. Incorrect, mistaken, erroneous, imprecise, untrue, false, flawed or inaccurate but never traumatic. However If you are looking to support your opinion with an analogy you need to do better. You might have simply stated that you prefer Brenda’s version rather than using the absurd “musicologist” comparison.

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