How is it best to rate music? We can say whether we like or dislike something. But does that make it good or bad? I don’t think so. If I don’t really like something, it does not necessarily make it ‘bad’, particularly as there will be someone else for whom that piece of music will be the best thing since sliced bread. This is the same with any sort of art form. I’m not sure Mr Tracks would agree with me here – just watch his reaction if you have the temerity to mention Harrison Birtwistle in his presence. Fortunately, I don’t have any of this composer’s music on my iPhone, but I do have one of Alison Krauss’s Albums – Forget About It (2008) – next on my listening list under the ‘A’ rather than the ‘K’ because of the way iTunes alphabetises artists’ names.
I guess I would describe the music here as ‘country-lite’ or even ‘easy-listening’. You might sense, in the words of W S Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame), a certain ‘modified rapture’ on my part about this album, and you would be right. But let me also say that Krauss has the most beautiful, crystal-clear voice, and a major bluegrass pedigree. This album does not have any bluegrass music on it, but she draws on her experience of that genre in the quality delivery of some country covers, one of which is backed by none other than Dolly Parton. All the tracks are gentle, many are ballads.
Looking at the Amazon reviews of this album, many people obviously really like it – one thinks it ‘the greatest album of all time’. That goes way too far for me. It’s a nice set to put on in the evening with a glass of wine. Personally, I prefer Krauss’s edgier stuff – we’ll get to some of that when we reach Raising Sand (2007) (the album she released with Robert Plant). But that doesn’t mean that it is better or worse than this album – just different. Potahto, you might say.