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Krauss, Alison

Alison Krauss

Fiddler, singer

A Real Contest Queen

Expanded the Boundaries of Bluegrass

Actively Courted by Major Country Labels

Surprise Crossover Success

Selected discography

Sources

The first wave of national fame came for bluegrass fiddler Alison Krauss in 1990 when, at the age of 19, she walked away from the Grammy Awards with the trophy for Best Bluegrass Album. The win was a feat not only because of the artists age, but because the album that earned her such recognition, Ive Got That Old Feeling, was actually the third in Krausss collection. Her first effort, Too Late to Cry, was released when the Champaign, Illinois, native was 16; she had signed a contract with Rounder Recordsone of the most prestigious folk music labels in the industryat the age of 14. And Krausss accomplishments at such a young age and astounding virtuosity have consistently been matched by her faithfulness to bluegrass, the oldest, and perhaps most underrated, of traditional American musical forms. Krauss had now matured from a teen phenom into an accomplished musician and producer.

In 1988 Krauss was chosen by the National Council for the Traditional Arts as one of six fiddlers representative of American folk music stylesa nomination that placed her among some of the best-known and most experienced fiddlers in the country. According to News-week s Bill Christophersen, the style for which Krauss was elected was western fiddlinga tradition that shuns blistering tempos for ornate improvisation. Western fiddlers pull a long bow, reeling off cascades of notes and turning hoedowns into showpieces.

A Real Contest Queen

Krauss first picked up the fiddle when she was five. In a remarkably short time, she was playing professionally, making a name for herself at music competitions across the country. Musician contributor Jim Macnie recounted how [Krauss] became notorious for scarfing up top prize in a slew of Midwestern competitions and quoted the fiddler as having admitted, My parents and I drove all the time, sometimes even hit two or three a weekend. Yeah, I was a real contest queen. In 1984, 13-year-old Alison walked away with the top fiddling prize at the National Flatpicking Championship in Win-field, Kansas; the subsequent year brought her considerable attention at the Newport Folk Festival, in Rhode Island, one of the largest events on the folk music calendar. She was also busy picking up first prizes at state fiddling championships across the country, including Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

Although the Grammy Award that she earned in 1990 marked a high point in Krausss career, there were several other signs of her artistic coming of age in the early 1990s. She was a big winner with the International Bluegrass Music Association, which conferred upon her awards including Female Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, and Album of the Year. And, in a move that echoed her early triumphs on the competition circuit, she became one of the chief draws at

For the Record

Born on July 23, 1971, in Champaign, IL. Education: Studied voice with William Warfield at the University of Illinois, c. 1988.

Began playing fiddle, c. 1976; became regular on blue-grass competition circuit, 1980s; signed with Rounder Records, c. 1985; released Too Late to Cry, 1987, and Ive Got That Old Feeling, 1990; appeared at Telluride, Winterhawken, and Jamboree U.S.A. folk festivals, 1991; released original work and compilations on Rounder including Every Time You Say Goodbye, 1992; I Know Who Holds Tomorrow, 1994; Now That Ive Found You: A Collection, 1995; So Long, So Wrong, 1997; Forget About It, 1999; and New Favorite, 2001; contributed to the highly successful O Brother, Where Art Thou? film soundtrack, 2001; released two-disc Live set, 2002.

Awards: Country Music Association, Female Vocalist of the Year, Horizon Award, Single of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year, 1995, Album of the Year, 2001; Grammy Awards, Best Bluegrass Album, 1990, Best Bluegrass Album, 1992, Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel, or Bluegrass Gospel Album, 1994, Best Female Country Vocal Performance, 1995, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, 1996, Best Bluegrass Album, Best Country Instrumental Performance, Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal, 1997, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, 1998, Best Bluegrass Album, Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal, Album of the Year, 2001; International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, Female Vocalist of the Year, 1990, Female Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, 1991, Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, 1991, Female Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, 1995, Song of the Year, 1997; other awards: induction, Grand Ole Opry, 1993; Gospel Music Association Dove Award, Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year, 1998.

Addresses: Record company Rounder Records, One Camp St., Cambridge, MA 02140, phone: (617) 2184495, fax: (617) 5761163, website: http://www.rounder.com, e-mail: info@rounder.com. Website Alison Krauss and Union Station Official Website: http://www.alisonkrauss.com.

major folk music events across the country in 1991, including Telluride, in Colorado, and Winterhawk, in New York. 1991 also saw Krausss first appearance at Jamboree USA, where she opened for bluegrass/country great Ricky Skaggs.

Expanded the Boundaries of Bluegrass

By this time, Krauss was becoming renowned for a unique quality in her musicianshipher ability to add a dimension, a styling, to the traditional bluegrass form that gave it a barrier-breaking power. As her reputation developed and broadened, she continued to maintain that special ability, as was reflected in Dan DeLucas comments in the Philadelphia Inquirer: Krauss and [her band] Union Station respect bluegrass rules, but play with a crackling intensity that largely avoids the sameness that plagues the genre. David Wilds review of Ive Got That Old Feeling for Rolling Stone similarly claimed, Krauss makes traditional bluegrass seem utterly contemporary. Her expertise allowed Krauss to take bluegrass into the larger music mainstream, compelling listeners who were otherwise disinclined toward the sound to embrace its possibilities.

Ultimately, Krauss chose to downplay her role as a fiddle virtuoso to pursue a more modest commitment to the music itself. Scott Alarik, who interviewed Krauss for the Boston Globe in 1991, documented the fiddlers shift from phenomenon to bluegrass purist, explaining, Just as she was gaining national prominence as a fiddle prodigy, she began eschewing hot licks in favor of a more restrained, melodic styleand to showcase her vocals. By 16, she was playing with the austere musicality of a master. Consequently, as some reviewers were applauding Krausss ability to make musical masterpieces out of the humble raw materials of blue-grass, others began to praise the integrity of her budding professionalism. At a 1991 Philadelphia concert, the Inquirers DeLuca was struck by her musical restraint. Although her playing consistently dazzled the adoring crowd, the journalist recalled, Krauss never once extended a solo to the point where it became more important than the song itself. In the same vein, Jim Bessman of Billboard noted that Krauss was reluctant to do anything that might diverge from pure bluegrass conventions.

While many critics encouraged Krausss dedication to bluegrass, producers from country music labels began trying to woo her away from the Rounder Records world of folk music with visions of commercial success. Public interest in Krauss was evident; as early as 1989, record reviewers were touting her potential as an international star. Goldmine writer Kit Kiefer declared, Krauss has the talent and the looks to become the next truly great country music artist. Krausss sweet soprano has, in fact, regularly prompted comparisons to country divas Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. For that matter, much of the country music industrys interest in Krauss has been based more on her status as a vocalist than as a fiddler. Although the musician herself may be primarily devoted to her skills as an instrumentalist, she has not neglected the development of her vocal talents; she began studying voice with William Warfield, an important name in the world of opera, at the University of Illinois in 1988.

Actively Courted by Major Country Labels

Edward Morris, writing in Billboard in 1991, captured the extent of the country music industrys courtship of Krauss, attesting, At a recent Krauss concert at [Nashvilles] Station Inn, the audience included [such industry heavyweights as] personal managers Ken Levitan and David Skepner and MCA Records executive VP and [Artists & Repertoire] chief Tony Brown. Affirmed Globe contributor Alarik, A few major labels in Nashville thought she could do well in commercial country music. He quoted Krausss response: They wanted me to do records that were more geared toward country radio; you know, with electric guitars, drums, pedal steel. That just wasnt something I was interested in doing. One particular offer sounded really good. My parents were really excited, and our lawyer was excited. I finally decided I hadnt had my fill of playing bluegrass. I dont think I ever will.

Despite her decision to stay with Rounder, Krauss enjoyed considerable success with country music fans. In 1990, she made several key appearances in vital country formats, taping an episode of televisions Hee Haw and becoming a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. She subsequently solidified her popularity with a performance at the Country Music Associations awards show.

The universality of attention being paid to Krausss work has made it more difficult for the fiddler to control how her music is defined. She told Alarik, [If Union Station] signs with a major label some day, it wont be commercial country music Ill be doing; not that its something I dont likewe listen to it in the van all the time. The main issue is that we dont want to be told what to play and how to play it. Although the Illinois Entertainers Bill Dalton labeled Krausss 1989 album, Two Highways, as a country offering, it wasnt until the reviews for Ive Got That Old Feeling began emerging that the battle over what Krauss really playedblue-grass or countrywas explicitly declared. A music critic for the Village Voice asserted that the queen of blue-grass has gone and made a country record. The City Paper, of Baltimore, was even bolder, stating, This release is packed with fine bluegrass pickers, but for the most part the material is mainstream Nashville thats been shoehorned into bluegrass instrumentation.

That claim was seemingly bolstered by Ive Got That Old Feelings ten-week residency on Billboards country album charts. The video for the title tracka rare venture for Rounder Recordsenjoyed heavy rotation on cables Country Music Television (CMT); it was subsequently named video hit #1 on that channel. Krausss second video release, for Steel Rails, also became prominent on CMT. Though Krauss may prefer to view herself primarily as a bluegrass musician and has not courted the country mainstream, her appeal has clearly crossed over into that territory. In July of 1993, Krauss was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, the first bluegrass singer to be so honored in almost three decades.

Every Time You Say Goodbye, released in 1992, also contained a country music flair. The album showcases the tight vocal harmonies and musicianship of Union Station that have successfully supported Krausss high, pure vocals and impressive fiddling. It won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Krauss released I Know Who Holds Tomorrow with the Cox Family on Rounder in 1994. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel, or Bluegrass Gospel Album that year. Though not as spectacular a collection as Every Time You Say Goodbye, according to Thorn Owens of All Music Guide, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow contains Krausss typically impressive combination of jaw-dropping fiddling and breathtaking singing.

Surprise Crossover Success

Though Krausss previous award-winning records had created new excitement for bluegrass and earned her great acclaim, it was the surprise crossover success of the compilation Now That Ive Found You: A Collection that launched Krauss into the upper stratum of mainstream popularity. The album, comprised of nine songs from Krausss catalog of recorded music from 1987 to 1994 as well as three previously unreleased songs and the Grammy Award-nominated When You Say Nothing at All from Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album, charted at number two on Billboards Top Country Albums chart and number 13 on the Top 200 pop chart. Likely responsible for the albums pop appeal were covers of the Foundations 1967 pop song Baby, Now That Ive Found You, Bad Companys Oh, Atlanta, and the Beatles I Will.

Krauss and Union Station released So Long, So Wrong in 1997, the first album of new material by the group since Every Time You Say Goodbye in 1992. Called devilishly pleasing by Alana Nash in Entertainment Weekly, the album returned to a traditional bluegrass focus. Its much more challenging to make something new-sounding with the same five instruments and less options, Krauss told Jim Bessman in Billboard, and the band only gets tighter the longer we play together I guess were more mature, which sounds so stupid, but its true.

Forget About It, released in 1999, was another of Krausss solo records. What happens with my solo records is that the band gets a chance to play with other musicians, and they like doing that, Krauss told Timothy White in Billboard. Krauss lends a great deal of thought to the mood of the music she produces, and told White that Forget About It had regret as its theme. I say the record has a sadness to it, but I like it, cause I think its the positive kind, still looking for the way up to the good, wherever people can find it.

The year 2001 saw the remarkable multiplatinum success of the soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Appearing on the soundtrack was an esteemed collection of American country, folk, and bluegrass musicians, including Krauss, Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, John Hartford, the Fairfield Four, Gillian Welch, the Cox Family, the Stanley Brothers, Norman Blake, and the Whites. Mario Tarradell of the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service called Krausss version of Down to the River to Pray uplifting and breathtaking. Another notable track was Didnt Leave Nobody But the Baby, which was sung a cappella by Krauss, Harris, and Welch. [T]he song has a bluesy edge that only punctuates the sadness of the lyrics, Tarradell commented.

Krauss and Union Station released New Favorite in 2001, an album that created a progressive slant to Union Stations traditional bluegrass feel, according to Zac Johnson of All Music Guide. The group released the two-disc Live set recorded at the Palace Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2002. Krauss has also become a successful producer, working with award-winning bluegrass group Nickel Creek and the Cox Family.

Selected discography

Too Late to Cry, Rounder, 1987.

(With Union Station) Two Highways, Rounder, 1989.

Ive Got That Old Feeling, Rounder, 1990.

(With Union Station) Every Time You Say Goodbye, Rounder, 1992.

(With the Cox Family) I Know Who Holds Tomorrow, Rounder, 1994.

(Contributor) Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album, BNA, 1994.

Now That Ive Found You: A Collection, Rounder, 1995.

(Contributor) Twister (soundtrack), Warner Bros., 1996.

(Contributor) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (soundtrack), Warner Bros., 1997.

(With Union Station) So Long, So Wrong, Rounder, 1997.

(Contributor) The Prince of Egypt: Nashville (soundtrack), DreamWorks, 1998.

(Contributor) Buffy The Vampire Slayer (soundtrack), TVT, 1999.

Forget About It, Rounder, 1999.

(Contributor) Happy, Texas (soundtrack), Arista, 1999.

(Contributor) O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack), Mercury, 2000.

(With Union Station) New Favorite, Rounder, 2001.

(Contributor) Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (soundtrack), DMZ/Columbia, 2002.

(With Union Station) Live, Rounder, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, October 27, 1990; November 10, 1990; July 17, 1993; May 20, 1995, p. 8; November 4, 1995, p. 55; February 22, 1997, p. 26; June 5, 1999, p. 3; August 21, 1999, p. 29; August 18, 2001, p. 14; November 2, 2002, p. 11.

Boston Globe, January 11, 1991.

City Paper (Baltimore), January 11, 1990.

Down Beat, October 1989.

Entertainment Weekly, February 10, 1995, p. 66; March 28, 1997, p. 66.

Goldmine, November 3, 1989.

Illinois Entertainer (Des Plaines), November 1989.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, August 28, 2001, p. K2508; December 12, 2001, p. K5.

Musician, February 1991.

Newsweek, October 1, 1990.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26, 1991.

Rolling Stone, November 15, 1990.

Village Voice, November 20, 1990.

Online

Alison Krauss, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 28, 2003).

Alison Krauss and Union Station Official Website, http://www.alisonkrauss.com (February 27, 2003).

Rounder Records, http://www.rounder.com (February 27, 2003).

Ondine E. Le Blanc

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Krauss, Alison

Alison Krauss

Fiddler, singer

A Real Contest Queen

Expanded the Boundaries of Bluegrass

Actively Courted by Major Country Labels

Selected discography

Sources

The first wave of national fame came for bluegrass fiddler Alison Krauss in 1990 when, at the age of 19, she walked away from the Grammy Awards with the trophy for best bluegrass recording. The win was a feat not only because of the artists age, but because the album that earned her such recognition, Ive Got That Old Feeling, was actually the third in Krausss collection. Her first effort, Too Late to Cry, was released when the Champaign, Illinois, native was 16; she had signed a contract with Rounder Recordsone of the most prestigious folk music labels in the industryat the age of 14. And Krausss accomplishments at such a young age and astounding virtuosity have consistently been matched by her faithfulness to bluegrass, the oldest, and perhaps most underrated, of traditional American musical forms.

In 1988 Krauss was chosen by the National Council for the Traditional Arts as one of six fiddlers representative of American folk music stylesa nomination that placed her among some of the best-known and most experienced fiddlers in the country. According to News-weeks Bill Christophersen, the style for which Krauss was elected was western fiddlinga tradition that shuns blistering tempos for ornate improvisation. Western fiddlers pull a long bow, reeling off cascades of notes and turning hoedowns into showpieces.

A Real Contest Queen

Krauss first picked up the fiddle when she was five. In a remarkably short time, she was playing professionally, making a name for herself at music competitions across the country. Musician contributor Jim Macnie recounted how [Krauss] became notorious for scarfing up top prize in a slew of Midwestern competitions and quoted the fiddler as having admitted, My parents and I drove all the time, sometimes even hit two or three a weekend. Yeah, I was a real contest queen. In 1984, 13-year-old Alison walked away with the top fiddling prize at the National Flatpicking Championship in Winfield, Kansas; the subsequent year brought her considerable attention at the Newport Folk Festival, in Rhode Island, one of the largest events on the folk music calendar. She was also busy picking up first prizes at state fiddling championships across the country, including Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

Although the Grammy Award that she earned in 1990 marked a high point in Krausss career, there were several other signs of her artistic coming of age in the early 1990s. She was a big winner with the International Bluegrass Music Association, which conferred upon

For the Record

Born c. 1971 in Champaign, IL. Education: Studied voice with William Warfield at the University of Illinois C. 1988.

Began playing fiddle c. 1976; became regular on bluegrass competition circuit, 1980s; appeared at Newport Folk Festival, 1985; signed with Rounder Records, c. 1985, and released Too Late to Cry, 1987; appeared at Telluride, Winterhawken, and Jamboree U.S.A. folk festivals, 1991.

Awards: National Flatpicking champion, 1984; first prizes at state fiddling championships, including Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, mid-1980s; named one of six fiddlers representative of American folk music styles by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, 1988; Grammy awards for best bluegrass recording, 1990, and best bluegrass album, 1993, for Every Time You Say Goodbye; International Bluegrass Music Association awards for best female vocalist, entertainer of the year, and best album of the year, all 1990; inducted into Grand Ole Opry, 1993.

Addresses: Record company Rounder Records, One Camp St., Cambridge, MA 02140.

her three awards: best female vocalist, entertainer of the year, and best album of the year. And, in a move that echoed her early triumphs on the competition circuit, she became one of the chief draws at major folk music events across the country in 1991, including Telluride, in Colorado, and Winterhawk, in New York. 1991 also saw Krausss first appearance at Jamboree USA, where she opened for bluegrass/country great Ricky Skaggs.

Expanded the Boundaries of Bluegrass

By this time, Krauss was becoming renowned for a unique quality in her musicianshipher ability to add a dimension, a styling, to the traditional bluegrass form that gave it a barrier-breaking power. As her reputation developed and broadened, she continued to maintain that special ability, as was reflected in Dan DeLucas comments in the Philadelphia Inquirer: Krauss and [her band] Union Station respect bluegrass rules, but play with a crackling intensity that largely avoids the sameness that plagues the genre. David Wilds review of Ive Got That Old Feeling for Rolling Stone similarly claimed, Krauss makes traditional bluegrass seem utterly contemporary. Her expertise allowed Krauss to take bluegrass into the larger music mainstream, compelling listeners who were otherwise disinclined toward the sound to embrace its possibilities.

Ultimately, Krauss chose to downplay her role as a fiddle virtuoso to pursue a more modest commitment to the music itself. Scott Alarik, who interviewed Krauss for the Boston Globe in 1991, documented the fiddlers shift from phenomenon to bluegrass purist, explaining, Just as she was gaining national prominence as a fiddle prodigy, she began eschewing hot licks in favor of a more restrained, melodic styleand to showcase her vocals. By 16, she was playing with the austere musicality of a master. Consequently, as some reviewers were applauding Krausss ability to make musical masterpieces out of the humble raw materials of blue-grass, others began to praise the integrity of her budding professionalism. At a 1991 Philadelphia concert, the Inquirers DeLuca was struck by her musical restraint. Although her playing consistently dazzled the adoring crowd, the journalist recalled, Krauss never once extended a solo to the point where it became more important than the song itself. In the same vein, Jim Bessman of Billboard noted that Krauss was reluctant to do anything that might diverge from pure bluegrass conventions.

While many critics encouraged Krausss dedication to bluegrass, producers from country music labels began trying to woo her away from the Rounder Records world of folk music with visions of commercial success. Public interest in Krauss was evident; as early as 1989, record reviewers were touting her potential as an international star. Goldmine writer Kit Kiefer declared, Krauss has the talent and the looks to become the next truly great country music artist. Krausss sweet soprano has, in fact, regularly prompted comparisons to country divas Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. For that matter, much of the country music industrys interest in Krauss has been based more on her status as a vocalist than as a fiddler. Although the musician herself may be primarily devoted to her skills as an instrumentalist, she has not neglected the development of her vocal talents; she began studying voice with William Warfield, an important name in the world of opera, at the University of Illinois in 1988.

Actively Courted by Major Country Labels

Edward Morris, writing in Billboard in 1991, captured the extent of the country music industrys courtship of Krauss, attesting, At a recent Krauss concert at [Nashvilles] Station Inn, the audience included [such industry heavyweights as] personal managers Ken Levitan and David Skepner and MCA Records executive VP and [Artists & Repertoire] chief Tony Brown. Affirmed Globe contributor Alarik, A few major labels in Nashville thought she could do well in commercial country music. He quoted Krausss response: They wanted me to do records that were more geared toward country radio; you know, with electric guitars, drums, pedal steel. That just wasnt something I was interested in doing. One particular offer sounded really good. My parents were really excited, and our lawyer was excited. I finally decided I hadnt had my fill of playing bluegrass. I dont think I ever will.

Despite her decision to stay with Rounder, Krauss enjoyed considerable success with country music fans. In 1990, she made several key appearances in vital country formats, taping an episode of televisions Hee Haw and becoming a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. She subsequently solidified her popularity with a performance at the Country Music Associations awards show.

The universality of attention being paid to Krausss work has made it more difficult for the fiddler to control how her music is defined. She told Alarik, [If Union Station] signs with a major label some day, it wont be commercial country music Ill be doing; not that its something I dont likewe listen to it in the van all the time. The main issue is that we dont want to be told what to play and how to play it. Although the Illinois Entertainers Bill Dalton labeled Krausss 1989 album, Two Highways, as a country offering, it wasnt until the reviews for Ive Got That Old Feeling began emerging that the battle over what Krauss really playedblue-grass or countrywas explicitly declared. A music critic for the Village Voice asserted that the queen of bluegrass has gone and made a country record. The City Paper, of Baltimore, was even bolder, stating, This release is packed with fine bluegrass pickers,... but for the most part the material is mainstream Nashville thats been shoehorned into bluegrass instrumentation.

That claim was seemingly bolstered by Ive Got That Old Feelings ten-week residency on Billboards country album charts. The video for the title tracka rare venture for Rounder Recordsenjoyed heavy rotation on cables Country Music Television (CMT); it was subsequently named video hit #1 on that channel. Krausss second video release, for Steel Rails, also became prominent on CMT. Though Krauss may prefer to view herself primarily as a bluegrass musician and has not courted the country mainstream, her appeal has clearly crossed over into that territory. By 1993, with a resurgence of country music in full flower, bluegrass aficionado Krauss seemed inadvertently poised on the brink of major country stardom. In July of that year, Krauss was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, the first bluegrass singer to be so honored in almost three decades.

Selected discography

Too Late to Cry, Rounder, 1987.

(With Union Station) Two Highways, Rounder, 1989.

Ive Got That Old Feeling, Rounder, 1990.

(With Union Station) Every Time You Say Goodbye, Rounder, 1992.

Sources

Billboard, October 27, 1990; November 10, 1990; July 17, 1993.

Boston Globe, January 11, 1991.

City Paper (Baltimore), January 11, 1990.

Downbeat, October 1989.

Goldmine, November 3, 1989.

Illinois Entertainer (Des Plaines), November 1989.

Musician, February 1991.

Newsweek, October 1, 1990.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26, 1991.

Rolling Stone, November 15, 1990.

Village Voice, November 20, 1990.

Ondine E. Le Blanc

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"Krauss, Alison." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Krauss, Alison." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/krauss-alison

Krauss, Alison

ALISON KRAUSS

Born: Decatur, Illinois, 23 July 1971

Genre: Country, Bluegrass

Best-selling album since 1990: Now That I've Found You: A Collection (1995)

Hit songs since 1990: "I've Got That Old Feelin'," "Looking into the Eyes of Love," "The Lucky One"

Often called "the first lady of bluegrass," fiddler and sweet-voiced soprano Alison Krauss, with her band Union Station, helped bring blue-grass music to a wider audience by blending it with country and folk music. Unlike her country counterparts such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill, Krauss relies heavily on her tradition, through instrumentation choices such as steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mandolins, and her recordings are produced in such a way that the music's warmth and sincerity easily shine through.

Krauss started playing classical violin at age five, but she soon grew tired of its limitations and she began to experiment with a more country and bluegrass style. She had success early and quickly, winning an Illinois State Fiddle Championship at age twelve in 1983. That same year, Krauss was named the Most Promising Fiddler in the Midwest by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America. A few years later, in 1987, she signed to the prestigious traditional music label Rounder Records and, at just sixteen years old, released her first album, Too Late to Cry, with the band Union Station.

But it was Now That I've Found You: A Collection (1995) that made Krauss a star, selling over 1 million copies, reaching number two on the country charts, and, more remarkably, charting in Billboard 's Pop Top 10. Its success suggested that bluegrass music had a far wider appeal than any musician in the genre had expected. Fans were somehow taken with this compilation, which spans Krauss's ten-year recording career with Rounder Records up to that point and features a cover of the Beatles song "I Will," in addition to more traditional bluegrass tunes.

In 2000 Krauss and Union Station benefited from an unlikely source: a movie soundtrack. Collectively and individually, band members appeared on the award-winning soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? The success of the album raised Krauss and her band's profile so that when New Favorite (2001) was released, Krauss and her band had officially crossed over to the mainstream. The themes running through New Favorite regret, redemption, and resolutionare illustrated in the title track, a sorrowful ballad in which Krauss sings, "I know you've got a new favorite." The album won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Krauss and Union Station have garnered countless music awards; she herself has thirteen Grammys.

Spot Light: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The motion picture O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), by filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, was a surprise hit, thanks in large part to its music. The soundtrack, with contributions from Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch, sold over 6 million copies and spawned a mainstream interest in blue-grass, country, gospel, and traditional roots music. Krauss contributed several tunes, including "Down to the River to Pray" and the chilling, a cappella "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby" performed with Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch. As of fall 2002, the album had spent 105 weeks on Billboard 's Top Country chart, and it won five Grammy Awards, including an upset victory for Album of the Year. The soundtrack also received eleven bluegrass awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2001. The success of the soundtrack helped buoy the success of the group's next album, New Favorite (2001), which was certified gold in 2002.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Too Late to Cry (Rounder, 1987); I've Got That Old Feeling (Rounder, 1990); Now That I've Found You: A Collection (Rounder, 1995); Forget About It (Rounder, 1999). With Union Station: Two Highways (Rounder, 1989); Every Time You Say Goodbye (Rounder, 1992); So Long So Wrong (Rounder, 1997); New Favorite (Rounder, 2001); Blue Trail of Sorrow (Rounder, 2001); Alison Krauss and Union Station Live (Rounder, 2002). Soundtrack: O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Universal, 2000).

carrie havranek

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"Krauss, Alison." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/krauss-alison