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Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss
@ the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
12 November 2011

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Biography

Alison Krauss (born July 23, 1971 in Decatur, Illinois) is an American bluegrass-country singer and fiddler. She entered the music industry at an early age, winning local contests by the age of ten and recording for the first time at fourteen. She signed with Rounder Records in 1985 and released her first solo album in 1987. She was invited to join the band ‘Union Station’ with which she still performs, Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS), and later released her first album with them as a group in 1989.

Krauss has released eleven albums, appeared on numerous soundtracks, and helped renew interest in bluegrass music in the United States. Her soundtrack performances have led to further popularity, including the Grammy-winning “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, an album also credited with raising American interest in bluegrass, and the “Cold Mountain” soundtrack, which led to her performance at the 2004 Academy Awards. During her career she has won 26 Grammy Awards, making her the most awarded female artist (and the third most awarded artist overall) in Grammy history.


Alison Krauss was born in Decatur, Illinois to parents who were originally from Columbus, Mississippi. Krauss was raised in Champaign, Illinois. She began studying classical violin at five years of age but soon switched to bluegrass. Krauss said she first became involved with music because “mother tried to find interesting things for me to do” and “wanted to get me involved in music, in addition to art and sports.” At age eight she started entering local talent contests, and at ten she had her own band. At 13 she won the Walnut Valley Festival Fiddle Championship, and the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America named her the Most Promising Fiddler in the Midwest. Krauss first met Dan Tyminski around 1984 at a festival held by the Society. Every current member of her band, Union Station, first met her at these festivals.

Krauss made her recording debut in 1985 on the independent album, “Different Strokes,” featuring her brother Viktor, Swamp Weiss, and Jim Hoiles. From the age of 12 she performed with bassist and songwriter John Pennell in a band called Silver Rail. Pennell later formed Union Station, and Krauss joined at his invitation, replacing their previous fiddler Andrea Zonn. Pennell (who remains one of her favourite songwriters) and wrote some of her early work including the popular “Every Time You Say Goodbye.” Later that year she signed to Rounder Records, and in 1987, at 16, she released her debut album “Too Late to Cry” with Union Station as her backup band.

Krauss’ debut solo album was followed shortly by her first group album with Union Station in 1989 “Two Highways.” Many traditional bluegrass numbers appeared on the album, along with a bluegrass interpretation of The Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider.” Krauss’ contract with Rounder required her to alternate between releasing a solo album and an album with Union Station, and she released the solo album “I've Got That Old Feeling in 1990.” It was her first album to rise onto the Billboard charts, peaking in the top seventy-five on the country chart. The album also was a notable point in her career as she earned her first Grammy Award, the single “Steel Rails.” Krauss and Union Station would then go onto perform at the 1989 Newport Folk Festival.

Krauss’ second Union Station album “Everytime You Say Goodby”e was released in 1992, and she went on to win her second Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album of the year. She then joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1993 at the age of 21. She was the youngest cast member at the time, and the first bluegrass artist to join the Opry in twenty-nine years. She also collaborated on a project with the Cox Family in 1994, a bluegrass album called “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” Mandolin and guitar player Dan Tyminski replaced Tim Stafford in Union Station in 1994.

Krauss has made multiple guest appearances on other records with lead vocals, harmony vocals, or fiddle playing. In 1997 she contributed harmony vocals in both English and Irish to Irish traditional band Altan’s “Runaway Sunday” album. She has contributed to numerous motion picture soundtracks. Such as Twister, The Prince of Egypt, Eight Crazy Nights, Mona Lisa Smile, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Alias, Bambi II and Cold Mountain. She also contributed the song “Jubilee” to the 2004 documentary Paper Clips. The Cold Mountain songs “The Scarlet Tide” by T-Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello and “You Will Be My Ain True Love”, performed by herself and Sting (affording them an Academy Award nomination). Krauss also worked as a producer for Nickel Creek on their debut self-titled album in 2000 and the follow-up This Side in 2002, which won Krauss her first Grammy as a music producer.

Krauss continues to release acclaimed and award winning albums as a soloist, with Union Station as well as a collaborator with artists such as Robert Plant “Raising Sand” (released 2007).

Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss & Union Station


Recommended
Listening

 

A Hundred Miles or More Alison Krauss + Union Station Live Forget About It Alison Krauss And  Union Station - Lonely Runs Both Ways
Alison Krauss + Union Station - New Favorite Alison Krauss + Union Station - Paper Airplane Robert Plant / Alison Krauss - Raising Sand

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