From left to right: Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Ron Block, Dan Tyminski, and Barry Bales
Alison Krauss & Union Station(sometimes abbreviated AKUS
) are a contemporary bluegrass
band who are one of the most well-known and popular groups in the genre. Fronted by singer-fiddler Alison Krauss, the group has won 27 Grammys and almost 30 various other awards. They started out playing mostly traditional bluegrass, but by the time of their first major label release Two Highways
, they had begun to branch out, recording a bluegrass version of The Allman Brothers' song "Midnight Rider". As their career progressed, the band continued to explore other forms of music, recording bluegrass covers of everything from 1970's British soul songs("Baby, Now That I've Found You"), to classic Disney standards("Baby Mine").
They first gained national attention with a cover of the late Keith Whitley's signature song "When You Say Nothing At All", which hit #3 on the Billboard Country Music chart in 1994. The group was also one of the only bands(the most notable other example being Splendid) to have their music featured in multiple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer*
It was immediately followed by Krauss guesting on Shenandoah's single "Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart".
The band underwent numerous personnel changes in its early years, but the current lineup has been together since 1997's So Long So Wrong
, with Ron Block and Barry Bales having been around even before that, since 1992. In addition to the group's releases together, guitarist Dan Tyminski provided the singing voice for George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
, while Jerry Douglas has released more albums on his own than Union Station as a group.
Krauss got several more guest singles outside the band, including Kenny Rogers
' 2000 hit "Buy Me a Rose" (which also featured Billy Dean) and Brad Paisley
's 2004 hit "Whiskey Lullaby".
- Alison Krauss - lead vocals, fiddle, viola
- Ron Block - guitar, banjo, backing vocals
- Dan Tyminski - guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
- Barry Bales - bass, backing vocals
- Jerry Douglas - dobro
Notable Alison Krauss & Union Station albums:
- Different Strokes(1985): Alison's debut album, recorded when she was 14, a collection of traditional bluegrass songs.
- Two Highways(1989): The first album credited to Alison Krauss & Union Station.
- Every Time You Say Goodbye(1992): The band's first album to win a Grammy.
- So Long So Wrong(1997): The first album with the full current lineup, it won 3 Grammys and was the band's highest-charting album to that point at #4.
- Forget About It(1999): Alison's last solo album to date, though Union Station played on it.
- New Favorite(2001): Came out the same year as O Brother Where Art Thou and the related soundtrack, on which several members of the group played. Also featured a cover of the Steely Dan song "Stars".
- Lonely Runs Both Ways(2004): Became the group's highest charting album on the full Billboard chart(#29), and featured a cover of Woody Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty". After this record's tour, the group took an extended hiatus so the band members could focus on their solo careers and families.
- Paper Airplane(2011): The group's most recent album, released after a seven-year hiatus. It became their first record to debut at #1 on the Billboard Country Chart, and won yet another Grammy.
- The Big Guy - Dan Tyminski is a good six inches taller than everyone else in the band. He virtually towers over Alison.
- Bittersweet Ending - How a good many of their love songs end.
- Cover Version - Pretty much at least once an album, and as noted above, their most successful song was a cover of another artist's most successful song.
- Distinct Double Album - Their 2002 live album, Live.
- Early Installment Weirdness - Not so much weirdness per se, but their first releases were almost nothing but traditional bluegrass songs and bluegrass-style. Around the time of Two Highways they started to branch out.
- Garfunkel - Averted. Alison is the lead singer, but Dan and Ron have also sung lead on various tracks.
- Instrumentals - Goes without saying. They are a bluegrass band.
- Long Runner Lineup - The current band has been together for 15 years, but Ron and Barry have been members for 20.
- Ms. Fanservice - Alison is quite the looker, and has been known to wear...revealing dresses.
- Record Producer - An in-house version, Alison and the band have produced their own records since Every Time You Say Goodbye.
- Vocal Tag Team - Dan sings the low tenor harmonies, while Ron sings high tenor. Some songs have Dan or Ron singing lead instead.