Alison Krauss and Union Station feat; Jerry Douglas
Lonely Runs Both Ways
The new album, Lonely Runs Both Ways, by Alison Krauss and Union Station proves that this great American band can stay contemporary yet be true to their roots. Krauss, who has now won more Grammys than any other female artist, has arguably the most talented band in America of any genre behind her, with Dan Tyminski on guitar, mandolin and vocals, Ron Block on banjo, guitar and vocals, Barry Bales on bass and vocals, Larry Atumanuik on drums, and the incomparable Jerry Douglas on Dobro.
What is cool about this new album is not only the divergent sounds inside, but also the choice in songs. Krauss’ voice is as gorgeous as ever, as is obvious on the first two cuts, “Gravity” and “Restless,” both written by R. L. Castleman. She has a self-professed love for the melancholy, for the sad songs and hopeful songs, and the Donna Hughes-penned “My Poor Old Heart” is another example of a sweet sounding ‘Alison’ tune. But interspersed among those beautiful songs are some numbers sung by the guys, Ron Block and Dan Tyminski, that are kicked up in mood and instrumentation.
Just when some long time fans have said the band’s bluegrass roots have been ignored comes straight ahead tunes such as “Rain Please Go Away,” written by Del McCoury, and “This Sad Song,” written by Alison and banjo great Alison Brown. Both are sung by Tyminski, and he also does an earthy mountain roots take on Woody Guthrie’s “Pasture Of Plenty.” As with all Union Station albums you know that you are going to get an instrumental song by the best Dobro player in the world, Jerry Douglas. “Unionhouse Branch” is the new Douglas workout, and it reminds us that Alison is still a fantastic and top of the line fiddle player. The album ends with a song written by Ron Block called “A Living Prayer,” and it is powerful both lyrically as well as sonically as it fits Alison’s voice perfectly.
- Derek Halsey