Songwriter series from Paper Airplane

Alison Krauss & Union Station have launched an interesting feature on their web site to complement the latest CD, Paper Airplane. It’s a Songwriter Series where the writers for each track speak a bit about their contribution to the album.

The first post was for the title track, written by Robert Lee Castleman, in which he muses on how the song came to be, in a most self-deprecating manner.

Paper Airplane is a simple song. All one has to do is doodle around on the guitar until you find a chord progression that is interestingly different enough to be somewhat familiar, then talk Alison Krauss into stopping by to hear it to lend the required inspiration. Then ‘wait.’ “

The full lyrics are also available in his post.

The next is for my favorite on the album, Bonita and Bill Butler, written by Sidney Cox. It tells a true story from his family history, using a dialect and mode of speech no longer common in modern English.

“At the writing of Bonita and Bill Butler, I’d had the fine pleasure of rediscovering some local history in and around my home in Louisiana. Webster Parish is embedded with vast watershed of sloughs and swampy bottoms. The picturesque stills are breathtaking to say the least, but the canopies of Cypress and Spanish moss in their uniqueness are but a shroud veiling an even grander expanse beneath. It was here in the safe shadows of the Button willows and Palmettos that I discovered volume upon volume, ancient chronicle, who’s pages were scored by human entry, revealing a heritage, rich as the black earth that cover them.”

In our interview back in April, Alison mentioned how taken she was with this song when she first heard it, and described having only a cell phone video of the first little bit to present to the band. Cox’s post on the AKUS site includes that video, plus the lyrics to the song, delivered by Dan Tyminski on Paper Airplane.

You can follow the Songwriter series here.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.