Alison Krauss and Union Station
(Rounder Records CD/DVD)
Alison Krauss and Union Station are on a roll. They have carved out an audience that supports their shows to the tune of sell-out after sell-out. Now, with the release of the new CD/DVD called Live, filmed in high definition at the beautiful Louisville Palace in Kentucky, everyone can see and hear what the fuss is all about. There have been a few different versions of Union Station over the years, and all of them have made great music. But, this current lineup is a truly talented bunch. The beautiful Krauss, of course, fronts the band with her excellent fiddle playing and wonderful singing voice. What is cool about this recording is that you also get to hear a bit of Alison’s goofy sense of humor. It’s a little twisted, and a lot of fun.
The other members of Union Station are all top-notch musicians as well. Barry Bales plays bass and sings harmony, Dan Tyminski plays mandolin, guitar and sings, Ron Block plays banjo, guitar, and sings, Larry Atamanuik plays drums, and the great Jerry Douglas slings some awesome Dobro. The album starts off with "Let Me Touch You For A While" and leaves no doubt about the professionalism of this group. Their arrangements of the songs and musical abilities are impressive from the very first note. Next up is an instrumental tour de force written by Jerry Douglas called "Choctaw Hayride." It is great that this band can shake it up with both the slower love songs and the powerful instrumentals. "The Lucky One" and "Baby, Now That I’ve Found You" are both simply beautiful. Alison and the boys dig into their bluegrass roots with songs such as the traditional "Cluck Old Hen," and they also play the poignant title cut from Ron Block’s solo album, "Faraway Land."
Although the rise in popularity of the band has steadily grown in recent years, it got a big boost when they found themselves playing the music from the hit movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou." Dan Tyminski was the voice of George Clooney when he sang the hit "Man Of Constant Sorrow" and Dan went on to win a bunch of awards for that song. Here they play it in fired up fashion, and the crowd is fired up along with them. For Jerry Douglas fans they do, of course, turn him loose as he steps up to show his amazing talent on the instrumentals "A Tribute To Peador O’ Donnell," "Monkey Let The Hogs Out," and a fantastic version of his tune "We Hide And Seek."
The sound and cinematography on this DVD is top of the line. And, it is a two-disc package with backstage interviews, extra music, and on-the-road videos that add up to over three hours of footage. If you are new to Alison Krauss and Union Station then this is a perfect way to get acquainted with this great American band. For those of you that are already fans this is the definitive concert DVD of the group that will be an important part of your collection for many years to come.