When it comes to selecting songs, Alison Krauss' aim is true. "Windy City" is classic country, with most of the tunes older than their 45-year-old singer. Krauss embraces them as her own, expanding her palette and making the traditional sound contemporary.
She draws on familiar and obscure material previously performed by artists such as Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Brenda Lee, and the arrangements are as wide-ranging as the songs' sources: weepy pedal steel, Tex-Mex guitar, a burst of Dixieland horns, tuba and a string orchestra — violins, not fiddles. Members of Krauss' band Union Station also contribute.
Out front is her angelic soprano, which rises to the occasion throughout, and not just when she climbs the scale with a goosebumps-inducing crescendo on the Osborne Brothers' "It's Goodbye and So Long to You."