No-Brainer Music, Part 1.

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My coworkers across the country from me at People’s Choice Awards definitely aid and abet my ongoing obsession with pop culture. They’re well aware of my nearly over-the-top absorption, and nurture it (or fan the flame, depending upon how you look at it). They alert me to what’s going on all the time. Which also makes me rather fortunate: how many people do you know who get emails from colleagues about “This new movie” or “That record that’s just come out” or “A TV show you GOTTA catchbut they don’t get in trouble for talking about recreational entertainment while on the job?  The PCA types also know that — with the exception of horror films, gangsta rap, and certain mind-numbing reality shows (where cruelty and taunting the also-rans is considered “fun” ) —  there’s nothing they can alert me about that I won’t investigate.

But there’s a record out tomorrow– to which I’ve been alerted – that requires absolutely zero investigating at all. It’s called Paper Airplane and, as far as I’m concerned, the acquisition of this latest from Alison Krauss and Union Station is a complete no-brainer. If you’ve never heard her, you are in for a massive genre-obliterating treat.

See, even when the world went bonkers over Ms. K with the soundtrack for Oh Brother, Where Art Thou and then the whole (sort of genius) Robert Plant pairing, I was more than happy to buy the albums – if only to add them to my already substantial Alison Krauss collection. Oh sure, people wanted to know (when O.B.W.A.T the movie came out) where on earth this gal with the golden tongue had come from, to which I would respond, “Oh that one? Perhaps you’ll want to listen to one of my Alison Krauss albums from 1992.” Nor can I be smug here – my sister had an early Union Station album and usually I can’t stand my sister’s taste in anything. So when I heard it for the first time I couldn’t very well admit how astonishingly good it was. Thus, rather than swallow my pride I actually pilfered my sister’s record and to this day she has never known that she’s responsible for my longstanding admiration of Alison’s music.

And boy can she sing. Is she bluegrass? Is she country? Is she pop? I wouldn’t begin to know how to categorize her except to say (and I prefer alternative music to most anything else although I also harbor a deep affinity for big bands) she is one of those artists like Patsy Cline whose music is just plain better than anyone else’s and is welcome anywhere. Nor did I know that she had won more Grammys than any other lady. Although that fact also leads me to believe that you probably know damn well who Alison Krauss is, and that I’m hardly imparting new information. If for some reason you don’t know about her, you might want to give her music a try. You may also find that she’s one of those singers where you listen and say “Oh of course I know exactly who she is”, which often happens. Suffice it to say, Alison Krauss is absolutely one of those artists who warrants attention no matter how you discover her. And in an era where musical artists can be flash-in-the pan stuff, designed to generate little more than controversy, this is a sure-fire performer who has yet to disappoint.

Today’s poll:

The following acts are all touring this summer – often together. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which one of them is your favorite:

1)   Journey

2)   Styx

3)   Foreigner

4)   Night Ranger

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