In 2000, Alison Krauss’ “I’ll Fly Away” featuring singer-songwriter Gillian Welch was included in the soundtrack album of O Brother, Where Art Thou? – a crime comedy-drama film that stars George Clooney, John Turturro, among others.
Although it wasn’t the version heard in the film, it won Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards. It also helped the soundtrack achieve massive success, which sold more than eight million copies, landed at the top spot on at least four of Billboard’s album charts, and was hailed the Album of the Year and Best Soundtrack album during the 2002 Grammy Awards.
Krauss and Welch achieved the same success following their performance of the song at the Ryman Auditorium. The duo’s live performance became a part of the 2000 documentary, Down from the Mountain soundtrack album – which popped up on various Billboard’s charts and was Grammy Awards’ Best Traditional Folk Album.
Truly, “I’ll Fly Away” is the most acclaimed among Alison Krauss hits. Well, that’s no surprise as Krauss and Welch’s vocals blend perfectly, with a dynamic accompaniment that is quick to catch a discerning ear.
Story Behind The Song
The classic spiritual ballad was written by gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley in 1929, who said he had “no idea that it would become so universally popular” when he wrote it. According to Brumley, the idea of the song came while he was humming an old ballad as he picked cotton on his father’s farm in Oklahoma. But it took three years before Brumley finished the entire song.
Since then, “I’ll Fly Away” turned out to be the most recorded gospel song of all time, with more than 5,000 versions performed by various artists worldwide.
You can listen to “I’ll Fly Away” by Alison Krauss in the video below.
Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch