In a world of tours with glitz and showy productions, there is much to be said for sheer musicianship, artistry, and yes, perfection on the concert stage. Alison Krauss and her band Union Station, featuring Jerry Douglas, take the stage at the World Arena on Wednesday, March 16, as part of their "Lonely Runs Both Ways" national tour.
A child prodigy, it was Krauss's fiddle playing that grabbed the attention of Rounder Records; it is her voice, however, that has captivated many -- from movie soundtracks (O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain) to her band recordings. Now 33, Krauss's big break came at age 14, when she played with studio musicians and noted Dobro (and future Union Station band member) player, Jerry Douglas. "I was over-playing and over-singing," she said in a recent NPR interview, "I wanted to crawl under the chair ... it was horrible."
Krauss released her first recording two years later, and to date has 10 studio albums all with her longtime band musicians of Union Station. She continues to rack up success upon success -- garnering 17 Grammys and multiple country and bluegrass awards; her recordings earn both commercial and critical acclaim.
The musicians of Union Station match Krauss' perfectionism. Jerry Douglas has been recognized as by the New York Times as "Dobro's matchless contemporary master" and his band mates credit him with drawing better performances out of his collaborators. Dan Tyminski, acoustic guitar player and lead/harmony vocalist, gained national recognition as the singing voice of George Clooney in the motion picture O Brother, Where Art Thou?, winning a Grammy, the Country Music Award for Single of the Year and three international bluegrass awards for his effort.
Songwriter, banjo player and guitarist Ron Block is in constant studio demand for such artists as Vince Gill, The Cox Family, Clint Black, Dolly Parton and others; and acoustic bass player Barry Bales is one of the most in-demand session players for bluegrass and acoustic musicians. Bales has recorded with such artists as Reba McEntire, Susan Ashton, Merle Haggard and Vince Gill.
With the unprecedented popularity of O Brother, Where Art Thou? followed by the critically acclaimed Down from the Mountain tour, Krauss and the band are riding the crest of success. In a recent interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, Krauss and the members of Union Station discussed their quest for perfection. The band doesn't change the set list from night to night -- rather they prefer to play the same songs. "[The songs] just get better and better when we go more in-depth into [them] as the tour goes on," said Douglas. "They become 'more internal' for the musicians."
-- Carolyn Carroll
Alison Krauss and Union Station
Colorado Springs World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd.
Wednesday, March 16, 8 p.m.
Tickets: call 576-2626 or go online to www.ticketswest.com.