Alison Krauss has revealed February 17th as the release date for Windy City, her first LP for Capitol Records and the Union Station band leader’s first project apart from the group since 2007’s Raising Sand, her platinum-selling project with Robert Plant. The 27-time Grammy winner has also released a behind-the-scenes trailer of the making of the album, which was produced by Nashville veteran Buddy Cannon.
“Making this record was really about Buddy,” Krauss told Rolling Stone Country in October. “A lot of times my work comes from this place of what I call the ‘inner-policeman.’ You want to do a good job and do something that comes from within yourself and your standards. But as I’ve worked with Buddy through the years, I’ve found that my ‘why’ got attached to him when I work for him. He really makes me want to do a good job.”
Album opener “Losing You” and “All Alone Am I” were both recorded by young Brenda Lee in the early Sixties, the same decade as Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared for You,” also covered here. Krauss adds her delicate vocals to the already-iconic Cindy Walker-Eddy Arnold heartbreaker, “You Don’t Know Me,” and covers Roger Miller’s “River in the Rain,” from the 1985 Broadway musical, Big River. She also sticks to her bluegrass roots with a cover of “Poison Love,” a tune Bill Monroe covered in 1951 and Raising Sand producer T Bone Burnett sang on his self-titled solo LP from 1986.
Krauss recorded the 10 Windy City tracks around 2013, but the process to complete the album was slowed by extensive touring with Union Station and vocal problems that forced her to stop singing for a brief period.
“I’ve never worked less on a record that took so long,” the singer jokes. “Buddy kept looking at his watch, saying, ‘We have to finish this before I turn 80!’ I kept telling him, ‘We’ve still got time!’ He’s only in his 60s.”
Cannon also figured into the LP in other surprising ways. Krauss was unaware he was a co-writer on “Dream of Me,” one of the songs she chose to record after first hearing bluegrass duo Jim and Jesse McReynolds perform it live in the early Eighties. Krauss’s version also features Melonie Cannon, the producer’s daughter, on backing vocals with her father. Other background singers on the LP include Suzanne Cox, Sidney Cox, Jamey Johnson, Hank Williams Jr., and Alabama’s Teddy Gentry.
The most awarded female artist in Grammy history, Krauss acknowledges that much of her musical identity is tied to the musicians she has played with for decades, including Union Station’s Dan Tyminiski, Ron Block and Barry Bales, all of whom appear on this record. “Everything I do is influenced by them,” she notes. “No matter what I do or who I play with, they go where I go.”
Windy City is currently available for pre-order, along with the album’s lead track, “Losing You.”
Windy City track listing:
“It’s Goodbye and So Long to You”
“I Never Cared for You”
“River in the Rain”
“Dream of Me”
“Gentle on My Mind”
“All Alone Am I”
“You Don’t Know Me”