Friday, December 23, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #46: "Dimming of the Day" -- Alison Krauss & Union Station

Following 2007's award-winning Raising Sand album with Robert Plant, Alison Krauss returned in 2011 with her first album with backing band Union Station since 2004. The resulting product, Paper Airplane, ended up at number one on Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart at year's end.

Though the album could at times become too formulaic -- unfortunately something Krauss really hadn't fallen into in the past -- there were a few distinct bright spots on the record, and as a whole it was still a beautiful thing from one of country music's best leading ladies.

The song "Dimming of the Day" was originally written and performed by British singer-songwriter Richard Thompson in 1975. Though covered by multiple artists in the decades since, Krauss and Union Station's version on Paper Airplane may be its best rendition yet.

A somber, low-tempo, rootsy ballad, "Dimming of the Day" finds Krauss' saccharine vocals lilting weightlessly over the warm sounds of acoustic guitar and dobro. The song is usually more folk music-based in nature, but Krauss' country twist fits it like a glove.

"Dimming of the Day" is one of the most beautiful, pleasant recordings of the year. If you're like me and a sucker for slow, hushed tunes played with minimal instrumentation and with a gifted vocalist, you won't be able to resist hitting the 'replay' button after first listen.

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