Bluegrass singer Alison Krauss has proven the versatility of her angelic voice, including the unexpected success of 2007’s “Raising Sand,” her inventive collaboration with Robert Plant, which won her five of the 27 Grammys she has received in a three-decade career. The Union Station bandleader’s latest solo album “Windy City” — a collection of vintage country covers including Brenda Lee’s “Losing You,” Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind” and Roger Miller’s “River In the Rain” produced by Nashville legend Buddy Cannon — feels like a natural artistic progression. She says, “The 1960s was a good era; I think about that time period a lot.”
Speaking of the ‘60s, that is some serious Loretta Lynn-huge hair you’re rocking in the “Windy City” cover photo.
You know, it’s funny, because when they were styling it, I didn’t even think it was that different. But my mother, when she saw it, went, “Oh, my gosh! What’s wrong with your hair?” And I was like, “What do you mean?” It’s not weird to me, but it’s been interesting to see that my hair is so intriguing. The secret is that under the top layer of hair, there’s a ferret. A little sleeping ferret!
”Windy City” was inspired by records your folks used to listen to?
Yeah. I think you have a fascination with the music and the time period of your parents’ youth. It’s like a second-hand memory, you hear stories that are tied to it, you imagine what it was like, and there’s a real romanticism tied to it. So I was thinking a lot about that, and I’d worked with Buddy Cannon through the years, and I kept doing sessions for him. So then I asked him to make a record.
What music were you brought up with?
My parents listened to everything under the sun: The Kingston Trio, Hank Williams Sr., classical and folk music. I didn’t have any kind of musical judgment growing up. My mother’s a painter, so she was really into my brother and I liking what we liked. My mother was repelled by normalcy, and by what everybody else was doing, so I don’t remember ever comparing ourselves to anybody else. We just loved what we loved.
Has your mom heard the record?
Yeah. She liked it and so did my dad. She just wasn’t crazy about my hair. They remember the songs, and they remember “Gentle On My Mind” first coming out. Although my mother did say it was hard to accept the different phrasing I used; that took some getting used to. So it was cool to hear what she had to say, because she’s an artist and she’s gong to shoot straight.
IF YOU GO
Alison Krauss, David Gray
Where: Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Road, Berkeley
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 19
Tickets: $45 to $125
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
Alison KraussBrenda LeeBuddy CannonGentle On My MindGlen CampbellLoretta LynnPop MusicsoloUnion StationWindy City