Alison Krauss songs brought bluegrass to a new audience.
With her unique bluegrass twang, superb fiddle skills, and angelic voice combined with her warm personality, Krauss is one of country music’s most enduring and cherished artists. She helped bring bluegrass to a new audience with music that stayed true to the roots of the style, at the same time adding appeal for country and pop audiences.
With more than twenty-five singles to her credit, Krauss has released some of the best country songs of the past two decades. These ten songs are her very best.
10. It’s Goodbye and So Long To You
From: Lonely Runs Both Ways (2004)
One of Alison Krauss’s most emotional performances on such a song came on “It’s Goodbye and So Long To You,” which was a stunning feature for her angelic vocal approach.
9. Every Time You Say Goodbye
From: Every Time You Say Goodbye (1992)
Released in 1992, this track heed back to the time Krauss was considered a bluegrass artist rather than a bona fide country star. The album of the same name, on which this track appeared, won the 1993 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. It came just two years before Krauss would storm onto the mainstream country stage with “When You Say Nothing at All.”
8. All Alone Am I
From: Windy City (2017)
Taking on a song by Brenda Lee can be a risky move for most, but Krauss doesn’t shy away from making her version of the 1962 classic. The song was actually composed by the Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis and originally recorded in Greek by Tzeni Karezi for the soundtrack of the film To nisi ton genneon or The Island of the Brave.
And Krauss’ rendition is sweet but brims with sorrow. It’s impeccable but cracks underneath the emotional weight.
From: Forget About It (1999)
Unfortunately, the song failed to chart in the United States, yet it’s the kind of song everyone could relate to, especially those who are coming off a bad breakup. Guess we could all agree that this is Krauss’ most underrated track.
6. Endless Highway
From: I’ve Got That Old Feeling (1990)
Speaking of Alison Krauss’s great song performances, this list would never be complete without taking her beautiful performance of Endless Highway album into consideration. Krauss brought the right amount of longing into the track, which was all about looking forward to the reunion she was about to make with her significant other. What makes this song even more incredible is that she was vocalizing with a veteran performer’s power when she was still a teenager.
5. Baby, Now That I’ve Found You
From: Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection (1995)
Originally recorded by The Foundations in 1967, “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” was a country hit for Krauss, proving that her career is firmly rooted into the fast lane. Her version that was equally seductive and innocent appeared in the Australian comedy film, The Castle. It peaked at No. 49 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and won the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
4. Down to the River to Pray
From: ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ soundtrack (2000)
Described as an African-American spiritual, Christian folk hymn, an Appalachian song, and a southern gospel song, “Down to the River to Pray” has an unknown origin. The song is believed to be around for more than a century, and it experienced a resurgence in 2000 – thanks to the release of O Brother, Where Art Thou? ‘s bluegrass-heavy soundtrack.
Alison Krauss’ angelic voice is absolutely perfect for the classic hymn, and it has been credited to the song’s mainstream success.
3. Let Me Touch You for Awhile
From: ‘New Favorite’ (2001)
“Let Me Touch You for Awhile” was released with Krauss’ longtime band, Union Station. This love song may be sultry, but Kraus’ angelic voice somewhat belies it all.
2. Whiskey Lullaby
From: ‘Mud on the Tires’ (2003)
This duet with Brad Paisley is as depressing as it is iconic. The song tells a tale of a couple who went through a sudden, painful separation that led both of them to alcoholism and eventually drinking themselves to death: first, the broken-hearted man and later the woman, who felt guilty for the man’s death.
Indeed, “Whiskey Lullaby” contains all the necessary elements for a beautiful yet sad country song — drinking, misery, and death. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and even made a crossover appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 before it was certified double platinum. In 2005, the song won the CMA Awards’ Song of the Year.
But according to its songwriter Jon Randall, the song was written “for one person to sing all the way through and tell the story.” It was actually Paisley who thought it would be great if a female singer would sing the second verse. When asked who’s on his mind, Paisley said: “There’s only two people I think that could do it. Either Alison Krauss or Dolly Parton.” A few days later, Kraus’ and Paisley’s company worked things out.
1. When You Say Nothing at All
From: ‘Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album’ (1994)
Without a doubt, Alison Krauss’s rendition of “When You Say Nothing at All” is her most iconic hit. The moment the radio picked up on the song and started spinning it without any promotion from the label, we know right then and there that Krauss’ journey has just begun.
Indeed, the song became Krauss’s career-defining performance, hitting the top five on the Country Singles charts, earning the singer a Single of the Year award – among four overall wins – at the CMA Awards in 1995.
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