With her unmistakable bluegrass twang and impeccable soprano, Alison Krauss is one of country music’s most enduring and beloved voices. She's also one of its best talents: Krauss is the winner of 27 Grammy Awards — second only to Beyonce in terms of female artists.
With more than 25 singles to her credit and an appearance on the iconic O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, Krauss has released some of the best country songs of the past 25 years. These 10 are her very best:
“Every Time You Say Goodbye”From: 'Every Time You Say Goodbye' (1992)
Released in 1992, “Every Time You Say Goodbye” harkens back to the time when Krauss was considered a bluegrass artist instead of a bona fide country star. The album of the same name, on which this track appears, won the 1993 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, and came just two years before Krauss would storm onto the mainstream country stage with “When You Say Nothing at All.”
“Maybe”From: 'Forget About It' (1999)
Released in 1999 on Forget About It, “Maybe” is the kind of song everyone can all relate to, especially when just coming off a bad breakup. It also remains one of Krauss’ most underrated tracks, considering that it failed to chart in the U.S.
“Ghost in This House”From: 'Forget About It' (1999)
As frequently as Krauss’ voice is described as angelic, she’s just as good at delivering a haunting track like “Ghost in This House.” Originally recorded by Shenandoah in 1990, Krauss’ version surpasses the original with its unrelenting loneliness and longing.
“Please Read the Letter”From: 'Raising Sand' (2007)
It takes a pretty incredible musician to hold their own alongside legendary Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, but Krauss proved she was more than capable with the release of 2007’s Raising Sand. It’s almost impossible to pick the album’s best track, but this cover of a song recorded by Plant and Jimmy Page in 1998 is undoubtedly a high point.
"The Lucky One"From: 'New Favorite' (2001)
From Krauss & Union Station's New Favorite album, "The Lucky One” earned the band two Grammy wins and was Krauss’ first real success since the release of “When You Say Nothing at All" in the mid-1990s. The studio version of this track is great, but the live recording that appears on Krauss’ 2002 Alison Krauss: Live album is somehow even better.
“Let Me Touch You for Awhile”From: 'New Favorite' (2001)
This song is also from New Favorite. Released in 2001 with Krauss’ longtime band, Union Station, and written by Robert Lee Castleman, “Let Me Touch You for Awhile” is a love song in which Krauss’ angelic voice somewhat belies its sultriness.
“Baby, Now That I’ve Found You”From: 'Now That I've Found You: A Collection' (1995)
Appearing on a compilation album that showcases Krauss’ early work as a bluegrass artist, “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” won the singer a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1995. This song was originally released in 1967 by the Foundations, and allegedly written in the same London pub where Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital.
“Down to the River to Pray”From: 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' soundtrack (2000)
This African-American spiritual is more than 100 years old, but it experienced a resurgence in 2000 with the release of O Brother, Where Art Thou?’s bluegrass-heavy soundtrack. Krauss’ angelic voice is perfect for this classic hymn, which no doubt contributed to the song’s mainstream success.
“Whiskey Lullaby"From: 'Mud on the Tires' (2003)
This duet with Brad Paisley is as depressing as it is iconic. Containing all the necessary elements for a good sad country song — drinking, despair and death — “Whiskey Lullaby” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, made a crossover appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 and has since been certified double platinum. In 2005, it won the CMA Awards' Song of the Year honor.
“When You Say Nothing at All”From: 'Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album' (1994)
Arguably Krauss’ most iconic hit, this cover of a formidable Keith Whitley classic is one of those that somehow manages to be as good as the original. The song was released as part of 1994’s Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album and was sent to radio in 1995 after fans began demanding to hear the song. That year, Krauss would win the CMA for Single of the Year.