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For her new album with a new label and a new producer, Alison Krauss decided to record old songs. She even toyed with the idea of selecting only songs that were older than she was, 45 years old. She came close. Most of the songs on Windy City predate Krauss, and those that don’t are only a few years younger.

The songs don’t feel old, though—they feel timeless. Krauss and her producer have crafted an album that places songs like “Losing You,” the beautiful Brenda Lee classic from 1963, in arrangements that allow Krauss’s voice to wrap itself around the melody, drawing the listener in and inviting us to feel what the writers felt all those years ago. Alison Krauss really knows how to sing sad songs.

There are nods to traditional country music in “It’s Goodbye and So Long to You,” and the pedal steel guitars in the title track make it clear which genre we’re in. But whether you like traditional country or not doesn’t matter because Alison Krauss sings these songs with conviction and charm. This is simply an album of beautiful old songs sung very well. (Capitol)

About the Author

Robert J. Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance learning at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is a member of 14th Street CRC in Holland, Mich.