Alison Krauss & Union Station Return With New Favorite

New CDs by songwriters Rick Ferrell and Chip Taylor.

A new album by Alison Krauss & Union Station leads country CD releases this week. Also out are a debut solo work by Nashville singer/songwriter Rick Ferrell and a solo album by veteran songwriter Chip Taylor.

New Favorite by Krauss & Union Station on Rounder Records is her ninth album overall and her fourth with Union Station getting equal billing. Her last solo album was 1999's Forget About It and her last CD with Union Station was 1997's So Long So Wrong. New Favorite (Gillian Welch wrote the title song) is again an ensemble work of bluegrass and mountain music by perhaps the most versatile ensemble working in the genre today. Even though they had no new release within the past voting year, Krauss and three of her band members — Dan Tyminksi, Barry Bales and Jerry Douglas — dominate the nominations in the upcoming IBMA bluegrass awards.

Chip Taylor, perhaps best known for writing the songs "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" (and for being actor Jon Voight's brother and Angelina Jolie's uncle), makes recordings sporadically. Now and then, he tours and he went on the road with Robert Earl Keen earlier this year. His new CD Black and Blue America is on New York's Train Wreck Records and is made up of new Taylor originals. He sings two duets with Lucinda Williams and one with John Prine. The 16 songs are numbered only with even numbers — thus, the first track is 2, the second is 4, and so forth. His spoken intros, interspersed with news clips and voice clips from such figures as John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., are in between and throughout the songs.

Nashville singer/songwriter Rick Ferrell co-wrote (with Keith Follese) the song "Something Like That" for Tim McGraw and wrote or co-wrote all 12 cuts on his debut DreamWorks Nashville CD Different Point of View. His song "The Girl's Got It Goin' On" from the album has gained exposure as a Karaoke cut and as a video.

There are several other new bluegrass releases this week. Cool Blue Rocks: Rock & Roll in the Bluegrass on Sugar Hill Records is an anthology by such artists as Jerry Douglas, John Cowan, Bryan Sutton, Jeff White, the Seldom Scene, Sam Bush and Tim O'Brien.

Tribute to John Hartford: Live From Mountain Stage on Blue Plate Records includes the performers Kathy Mattea, John Cowan, Tim O'Brien, Jamie Hartford, Bela Fleck, Norman Blake and Riders in the Sky. The tribute to the late John Hartford was recorded live in Nashville on September 24, 2000.

Uncontained by the group Wildfire is new on Pinecastle Records and Old Dreams & New Dreams by the Steep Canyon Rangers is on Steep Canyon Music.