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Country - Released August 14, 2001 | Rounder

Following the success of the startlingly popular traditional old-timey soundtrack for the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, contemporary bluegrass pioneers Alison Krauss & Union Station moved in the opposite direction for their 2001 release, New Favorite. While Krauss and Union Station guitarist/vocalist Dan Tyminski got deeply in touch with their dust bowl Americana roots for their work on the film, their follow-up studio album is certainly the slickest, most progressive work they've recorded to date. New Favorite seems almost neatly divided into two albums: one following the same path as Krauss' 1999 contemporary country solo album, Forget About It, and the other helmed by Tyminski, bringing a progressive slant to Union Station's traditional bluegrass feel. The whole album is well crafted (with the exception of Tyminski's laborious, drawn-out "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn") but will certainly not sit right with certain elements of the band's core audience, which has come to know them as the strongest traditionally based bluegrass act still recording. The whole album feels a little too slick and reverbed out; the brilliant dobro work of Jerry Douglas seems echoey, and at times Krauss' vocals seem to be coming out of some deep studio well. The musicianship, however, is beyond top-notch. The players (specifically banjo player Ron Block and guitarist Tyminski) are among the best in the genre, and the harmonies between the two vocalists are stunning and sine-tingling. Their call and response vocals on "Daylight" serve as the highlight of the album, traced delicately by Douglas' dobro and chilling to the end. © Zac Johnson /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 1997 | New Rounder

After mainstream success happened for Alison Krauss & Union Station, one would have rightly expected a commercial sweetening of their sound, resulting in diminishing (or even abandoning) the simple but very unique thing that brought them into the public eye -- and eventual public acclaim -- in the first place. But the group's first new recording in the wake of the surprise success of Now That I've Found You: A Collection finds Alison Krauss & Union Station happily keeping their eclectic focus firmly on the prize stretched before them with no silly attempts to court the hat-hunk-of-the-month or the boot-scoot-boogie crowd. Despite the media's singling out of Krauss as country's new bluegrass solo diva, Union Station (with Krauss as simply a featured member of it) remains very much a group, and that's the real refreshing news here. It is that collective spirit that remains the reoccurring theme and the resounding musical point being made here, and it is the solid anchor that roots this album into place from beginning to end. Krauss' expert evocative way with a ballad is on full display here, with "Deeper Than Crying" and "It Doesn't Matter" featuring her on violas, adding a new voice to Union Station's sound. But the lead vocals are passed around among Krauss, mandolinist Adam Steffey, guitarist Dan Tyminski, and banjoist Ron Block, while Krauss' fiddle work in a backup capacity is an integral part of the sound as well. All in all, this is a totally un-gimmicky album that flies in the face of what usually happens when mainstream success comes calling. And, as a result of that commitment to quality and musical focus, one that makes you want to play it again when it's all over. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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Country - Released November 5, 2002 | New Rounder

Given Alison Krauss' tremendous popularity and her status as the first female bluegrass singer to cross over into genuine pop marketability, and given the fact that her guitarist, Dan Tyminski, is the voice behind "Man of Constant Sorrow" (or at least the version that served as an idée fixe in the blockbuster movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?), a live album was inevitable. That it should be a two-disc set can simply be chalked up to good luck. Unless you're a bluegrass purist, that is, looking for music that preserves the traditional Appalachian sounds of Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe. Listeners of that mindset will be bitterly disappointed by the presence of modern singer/songwriter fare ("Lucky One," "Let Me Touch You for a While"), by the drums on "Oh, Atlanta," and, most of all, by those dreadful call-and-response vocals on the chorus of "Man of Constant Sorrow" (which, you can hear them sniff, Tyminski takes at about twice the appropriate speed). All of this would explain why bluegrass purists are no fun to be around and, one suspects, don't have very much fun in private either. The simple fact is that every time Krauss opens her mouth to sing, angels stop what they're doing and take notes. There may be no musical pleasure quite as pure and sweet as listening to Krauss sing "Baby, Now That I've Found You" or "When You Say Nothing at All." And when she starts in on the impossibly beautiful gospel tune "Down to the River to Pray," the effect is almost disturbingly moving. Which brings listeners to the problem with this album, which is the amount of time it spends on stuff other than Alison Krauss singing great songs. The instrumental bits, the Jerry Douglas showcases, and Tyminski's requisite rendition of "Man of Constant Sorrow" are all fine, but they end up feeling like filler. Still, this album can be solidly recommended to modern bluegrass fans in general and to Krauss' many fans in particular. © Rick Anderson /TiVo
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Country - Released March 3, 2017 | Capitol Records (US1A)

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Alison Krauss is one of the artists who helped break down the barriers between bluegrass and mainstream country music, but even though country radio was willing to make room for her, Krauss never seemed to be interested in courting their favor. Krauss has always followed her own creative path and let the audience come to her with her mature and adventurous approach to acoustic music. Thirty years into her recording career, Krauss has made her most specifically "country" album to date, though it's a musical left turn into a very specific time and place in country's history. Released in 2017, Windy City is a polished and carefully crafted tribute to the countrypolitan sounds of the '50s and '60s, music that fused the emotional honesty and personal storytelling of country with smooth, sophisticated production dominated by pianos and strings, and the set list draws from old standards rather than contemporary compositions. Producer Buddy Cannon has designed Windy City as a showcase for Alison Krauss the vocalist, with her stellar fiddle work appearing on only one track. While pale shadows of contemporary country can be heard in these performances, numbers like "Losing You," "You Don't Know Me," and the title track owe far more to Patsy Cline's classic "Nashville sound" sides than anything that's come out of Music City in the past decade. Even when the music takes on a twangier approach on "Poison Love" and "It's Goodbye and So Long to You," Cannon's production and arrangements are steeped in the sounds of the past; while Krauss's bluegrass music always sounded fresh and contemporary in its approach, Windy City is the sound of her moving forward into the past. If this is a very different Alison Krauss album, it's also a good one; the accompaniment is slick, but it's brilliantly executed, and Cannon favors the clarity and emotional range of Krauss's voice. She meets the demands of the material beautifully, and she brings a warmth and subtle passion to songs like "Gentle on My Mind" and "You Don't Know Me" that makes you briefly forget the definitive recordings of these classics. It remains to be seen if Windy City is a brief creative detour for Alison Krauss or the first salvo of a new creative direction. But if Krauss wants to be the new voice of retro countrypolitan music, Windy City leaves no doubt that she has the talent and the intelligence to make it work, and this album is a richly satisfying experience. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2007 | New Rounder

The title of Rounder's Alison Krauss compilation A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection is a bit misleading. While it does contain previously recorded material, it is not to be taken as a greatest-hits package; rather, the 16 tracks are compiled from Krauss' numerous collaborations, soundtrack appearances, and other non-Union Station gigs. That said, it's as solid a set of material as one could want from the multi-talented Krauss. As a voice for hire, there are few singers with her emotional range, a gift she lends easily to the Elvis Costello-penned "Scarlet Tide" from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Award-winning duets with Brad Paisley ("Whiskey Lullaby") and James Taylor ("How's the World Treating You") -- the latter a Louvin Brothers cover -- as well as collaborations with the Chieftains ("Molly Bán") from the legendary Irish group's Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions) and Sting ("You Will Be My Ain True Love") make this anthology of oddities far from superfluous. A Hundred Miles or More also boasts five new cuts, including "You're Just a Country Boy," "Simple Love," the gorgeous "Jacob's Dream," "Away Down the River," and "Sawing on the Strings," the latter of which harkens back to early, more bluegrass-oriented Krauss. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2011 | New Rounder

Anyone who's paid attention to Alison Krauss' musical career, with and without Union Station, had to wonder what would happen after the unprecedented success of 2007's Raising Sand, her collaboration with Robert Plant. For her, the next logical move was to reunite with US, who had been dormant since 2004's Lonely Runs Both Ways and whose members all had busy solo careers. Given the long layoff, Paper Airplane was produced by US and engineered and mixed by Mike Shipley. According to Krauss, it was harder to complete than any previous album.Thankfully, it doesn't sound like it. It is a melancholy record, its songs largely revolve around themes of trial and perseverance. The title track that opens the record is a lilting country ballad written by Robert Lee Castleman and informed by Krauss' own recent life experiences. Her vocal is wrenching; it's utterly vulnerable in expressing love's loss, yet it's steely in its resolve, recognizing an eventual emergence. Peter Rowan's minor-key bluegrass stomper "Dust Bowl Children" features Dan Tyminski's trademark vocal. It's angry, bewildered, and determined. The interplay between Ron Block's banjo, Barry Bales' driving bassline, and Jerry Douglas' dobro is earthy, lean, and mean. Brother Viktor Krauss and Angel Snow contributed "Lie Awake," a spooky, broken love song full of swooping dobro and Krauss' forlorn fiddle. Only US could empathically back her searching, desperate vocal. Paper Airplane is sequenced beautifully. The reading of Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day" is the hinge piece on the record (and rivals the title track for the best thing here). This is Krauss' finest vocal performance this time out; although it doesn't rival Linda Thompson's original, it doesn't need to: it's devastating in expressing raw need, loss, and emptiness from a protagonist in the middle of a time of trial. Sidney Cox's "Bonita and Bill Butler" is a banjo-driven seafaring tragedy sung exquisitely by Tyminski before Paper Airplane closes with a stellar cover of Jackson Browne's "My Opening Farewell," which brings the album full circle, leaving the listener to meditate upon life's many episodes. Krauss' version wrings more sheer acceptance from the lyrics than Browne's own does. Paper Airplane is very polished -- pristine, even -- but there isn't an extra thing on it. It feels organic and authentic, allowing plenty of room for the emotional power in these songs to come forth. Union Station proves once more that it is a contemporary bluegrass outfit that makes no concession to contemporary country music. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 1995 | New Rounder

Alison Krauss had been recording a decade before she gained stardom, but she became a star in a big way. Now That I've Found You: A Collection, a retrospective of her ten-year recording career for Rounder, became the surprise hit of 1995, rocketing to number two on the country charts and into the Top 15 on the pop charts, which is remarkable for a musician who had never captured the attention of a mass audience. It may have been a surprising success, but it also was deserved. Krauss was arguably the leading bluegrass musician of the late '80s and early '90s, pushing the music into new directions without losing sight of its roots. Now That I've Found You does a splendid job of chronicling her career, hitting all of the highlights and making a new listener eager to seek out her albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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World - Released November 5, 2002 | UMLE - Latino

Given Alison Krauss' tremendous popularity and her status as the first female bluegrass singer to cross over into genuine pop marketability, and given the fact that her guitarist, Dan Tyminski, is the voice behind "Man of Constant Sorrow" (or at least the version that served as an idée fixe in the blockbuster movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?), a live album was inevitable. That it should be a two-disc set can simply be chalked up to good luck. Unless you're a bluegrass purist, that is, looking for music that preserves the traditional Appalachian sounds of Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe. Listeners of that mindset will be bitterly disappointed by the presence of modern singer/songwriter fare ("Lucky One," "Let Me Touch You for a While"), by the drums on "Oh, Atlanta," and, most of all, by those dreadful call-and-response vocals on the chorus of "Man of Constant Sorrow" (which, you can hear them sniff, Tyminski takes at about twice the appropriate speed). All of this would explain why bluegrass purists are no fun to be around and, one suspects, don't have very much fun in private either. The simple fact is that every time Krauss opens her mouth to sing, angels stop what they're doing and take notes. There may be no musical pleasure quite as pure and sweet as listening to Krauss sing "Baby, Now That I've Found You" or "When You Say Nothing at All." And when she starts in on the impossibly beautiful gospel tune "Down to the River to Pray," the effect is almost disturbingly moving. Which brings listeners to the problem with this album, which is the amount of time it spends on stuff other than Alison Krauss singing great songs. The instrumental bits, the Jerry Douglas showcases, and Tyminski's requisite rendition of "Man of Constant Sorrow" are all fine, but they end up feeling like filler. Still, this album can be solidly recommended to modern bluegrass fans in general and to Krauss' many fans in particular. © Rick Anderson /TiVo
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Country - Released August 3, 1999 | New Rounder

Alison Krauss gets introspective and personal on her seventh album, one of her solo outings that shoves Union Station in the background while conventional country steps up to the spotlight. But Krauss is a little too sharp for Nashville standard, so Forget About It sounds more like an adult pop album with occasional notes of country grace. Unfortunately, the material here isn't very inspired (despite a dip into the Todd Rundgren songbook and the fine title tune), and Krauss herself has a hard time elevating it. Still, her fragile, angelic voice is capable of working wonders, which it often does with even the weakest of songs. A marginal effort. © Michael Gallucci /TiVo
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Country - Released February 17, 2017 | Capitol Records (US1A)

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Alison Krauss is one of the artists who helped break down the barriers between bluegrass and mainstream country music, but even though country radio was willing to make room for her, Krauss never seemed to be interested in courting their favor. Krauss has always followed her own creative path and let the audience come to her with her mature and adventurous approach to acoustic music. Thirty years into her recording career, Krauss has made her most specifically "country" album to date, though it's a musical left turn into a very specific time and place in country's history. Released in 2017, Windy City is a polished and carefully crafted tribute to the countrypolitan sounds of the '50s and '60s, music that fused the emotional honesty and personal storytelling of country with smooth, sophisticated production dominated by pianos and strings, and the set list draws from old standards rather than contemporary compositions. Producer Buddy Cannon has designed Windy City as a showcase for Alison Krauss the vocalist, with her stellar fiddle work appearing on only one track. While pale shadows of contemporary country can be heard in these performances, numbers like "Losing You," "You Don't Know Me," and the title track owe far more to Patsy Cline's classic "Nashville sound" sides than anything that's come out of Music City in the past decade. Even when the music takes on a twangier approach on "Poison Love" and "It's Goodbye and So Long to You," Cannon's production and arrangements are steeped in the sounds of the past; while Krauss's bluegrass music always sounded fresh and contemporary in its approach, Windy City is the sound of her moving forward into the past. If this is a very different Alison Krauss album, it's also a good one; the accompaniment is slick, but it's brilliantly executed, and Cannon favors the clarity and emotional range of Krauss's voice. She meets the demands of the material beautifully, and she brings a warmth and subtle passion to songs like "Gentle on My Mind" and "You Don't Know Me" that makes you briefly forget the definitive recordings of these classics. It remains to be seen if Windy City is a brief creative detour for Alison Krauss or the first salvo of a new creative direction. But if Krauss wants to be the new voice of retro countrypolitan music, Windy City leaves no doubt that she has the talent and the intelligence to make it work, and this album is a richly satisfying experience. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Released February 14, 1992 | Rounder

Alison Krauss was born to sing bluegrass. Her voice just wouldn't work in a riot grrrl or hip-hop setting. Not even close. The fiddle wouldn't quite fit either. Lucky thing she found her calling. On Every Time You Say Goodbye, Krauss is once again teamed with the stellar craftsmen of Union Station, and she sounds as comfortable as a porch swing and lemonade on a warm summer evening. Although Krauss gets the majority of the accolades, this is truly a group effort as the various musicians share the credit as writers and producers. Ron Block, Tim Stafford, Barry Bales, and Adam Steffey also take their turns stepping up to the mic, offering harmony and lead vocals where fitting. The songs range from traditional country fare to unexpected covers like Shawn Colvin's "I Don't Know Why." Their arrangement might seem oddly peppy to those who know the Colvin version. But to those who don't, it works just fine. Other highlights include the title track, "Who Can Blame You," "Last Love Letter," and the Karla Bonoff composition "Lose Again." And you just have to love a record that includes "Cluck Old Hen," which happens to be a fine showcase for Krauss' outstanding fiddle work. She has done a lot to make bluegrass a viable, contemporary genre of music. Every Time You Say Goodbye does much to further that cause. © Kelly McCartney /TiVo
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Country - Released August 15, 1990 | Rounder

When I've Got That Old Feeling garnered Alison Krauss 1990's Best Bluegrass Recording Grammy, it was an acknowledgement of the talent and poise the former child prodigy had shown through her first three albums. The album's tantalizing blend of tasteful folk and traditional bluegrass certainly deserved the award. But Old Feeling was more important as a footbridge to where Krauss would take her music -- and bluegrass itself -- over the next decade. It blended country and bluegrass with pop elements (the latter being most evident on "Longest Highway") in such an effortless way, the album couldn't possibly be seen as a play for the mainstream. The sentiment behind the gentle sway of "It's Over" and "Wish I Still Had You" was universal; blended into the honeyed voice of Krauss, it was irresistible. At the same time, the playing on "Will You Be Leaving" and "Dark Skies" was not only technically skilled, but startlingly genuine. (Sam Bush's mandolin and the dobro leads of producer Jerry Douglas were particularly impressive.) The record was imbued with the same old feeling that Krauss and her Union Station guitarist Dan Tyminski would later draw upon for O Brother, Where Art Thou? -- it was a bluegrass album at heart, but it came from a place where emotion and honesty weren't labeled with a genre tag. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 1989 | New Rounder

Two Highways is the first album Alison Krauss recorded with her excellent backing band, Union Station, and, appropriately, it demonstrates that she could lead a band through a number of bluegrass standards, as well as several more contemporary numbers. Of course, her instrumental solo continue to be the most impressive thing about her music on Two Highways, but her duets with guitarists Jeff White demonstrate that her vocals are beginning to come into their own. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 1987 | New Rounder

Alison Krauss may have recorded Too Late to Cry when she was only 14 years old, but her sound was already well developed and astonishingly accomplished. Throughout the album, she demonstrates a mastery of bluegrass, singing and playing with a distinctive grace. It's an impressive debut, but it would pale in comparison to the albums that followed. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2018 | Le Chien Noir

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Country - Released January 28, 1994 | Rounder

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow isn't as consistently engaging as Every Time You Say Goodbye, but that's only a relative term -- from any other artists, this would be a masterpiece. From Alison Krauss, it's another reliably wonderful collection of jaw-dropping fiddling and breathtaking singing. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Country - Released March 3, 2017 | Capitol Records (US1A)

Alison Krauss is one of the artists who helped break down the barriers between bluegrass and mainstream country music, but even though country radio was willing to make room for her, Krauss never seemed to be interested in courting their favor. Krauss has always followed her own creative path and let the audience come to her with her mature and adventurous approach to acoustic music. Thirty years into her recording career, Krauss has made her most specifically "country" album to date, though it's a musical left turn into a very specific time and place in country's history. Released in 2017, Windy City is a polished and carefully crafted tribute to the countrypolitan sounds of the '50s and '60s, music that fused the emotional honesty and personal storytelling of country with smooth, sophisticated production dominated by pianos and strings, and the set list draws from old standards rather than contemporary compositions. Producer Buddy Cannon has designed Windy City as a showcase for Alison Krauss the vocalist, with her stellar fiddle work appearing on only one track. While pale shadows of contemporary country can be heard in these performances, numbers like "Losing You," "You Don't Know Me," and the title track owe far more to Patsy Cline's classic "Nashville sound" sides than anything that's come out of Music City in the past decade. Even when the music takes on a twangier approach on "Poison Love" and "It's Goodbye and So Long to You," Cannon's production and arrangements are steeped in the sounds of the past; while Krauss's bluegrass music always sounded fresh and contemporary in its approach, Windy City is the sound of her moving forward into the past. If this is a very different Alison Krauss album, it's also a good one; the accompaniment is slick, but it's brilliantly executed, and Cannon favors the clarity and emotional range of Krauss's voice. She meets the demands of the material beautifully, and she brings a warmth and subtle passion to songs like "Gentle on My Mind" and "You Don't Know Me" that makes you briefly forget the definitive recordings of these classics. It remains to be seen if Windy City is a brief creative detour for Alison Krauss or the first salvo of a new creative direction. But if Krauss wants to be the new voice of retro countrypolitan music, Windy City leaves no doubt that she has the talent and the intelligence to make it work, and this album is a richly satisfying experience. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Released February 17, 2017 | Capitol Records (US1A)

Alison Krauss is one of the artists who helped break down the barriers between bluegrass and mainstream country music, but even though country radio was willing to make room for her, Krauss never seemed to be interested in courting their favor. Krauss has always followed her own creative path and let the audience come to her with her mature and adventurous approach to acoustic music. Thirty years into her recording career, Krauss has made her most specifically "country" album to date, though it's a musical left turn into a very specific time and place in country's history. Released in 2017, Windy City is a polished and carefully crafted tribute to the countrypolitan sounds of the '50s and '60s, music that fused the emotional honesty and personal storytelling of country with smooth, sophisticated production dominated by pianos and strings, and the set list draws from old standards rather than contemporary compositions. Producer Buddy Cannon has designed Windy City as a showcase for Alison Krauss the vocalist, with her stellar fiddle work appearing on only one track. While pale shadows of contemporary country can be heard in these performances, numbers like "Losing You," "You Don't Know Me," and the title track owe far more to Patsy Cline's classic "Nashville sound" sides than anything that's come out of Music City in the past decade. Even when the music takes on a twangier approach on "Poison Love" and "It's Goodbye and So Long to You," Cannon's production and arrangements are steeped in the sounds of the past; while Krauss's bluegrass music always sounded fresh and contemporary in its approach, Windy City is the sound of her moving forward into the past. If this is a very different Alison Krauss album, it's also a good one; the accompaniment is slick, but it's brilliantly executed, and Cannon favors the clarity and emotional range of Krauss's voice. She meets the demands of the material beautifully, and she brings a warmth and subtle passion to songs like "Gentle on My Mind" and "You Don't Know Me" that makes you briefly forget the definitive recordings of these classics. It remains to be seen if Windy City is a brief creative detour for Alison Krauss or the first salvo of a new creative direction. But if Krauss wants to be the new voice of retro countrypolitan music, Windy City leaves no doubt that she has the talent and the intelligence to make it work, and this album is a richly satisfying experience. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2011 | New Rounder