If the question was asked…”What singer has won the most Grammy Awards?”…not many people would know the answer is Alison Krauss. She’s won 27 Grammys. That’s more than any other vocal performer…man, woman, or group. Only two non-performers have more Grammys, a Classical Music conductor, and a producer.
Born in 1971, Alison Kraus first became popular as a Bluegrass artist. She was playing the fiddle and winning local talent contests at 10 years of age. By 12 she was in a band, and by 14 she had a recording contract. By then, her soprano voice was featured as much as her violin. It was at the age of 20 she won her first Grammy, and at 21 she became the (then) youngest member of The Grand Ole Oprey.
We became aware of Alison Kraus as she hit the mainstream in 1995 with the songs “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” and “When You Say Nothing At All”. Although both were remakes, they had original arrangements that made them fresh. The album, Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection, with her group Union Station, was her first double-platinum album and won four CMA awards.
From that point on, we bought all of her albums, including these solo albums:
Alison Krauss has always collaborated with other artists. Her duet with James Taylor on “How’s The World Treating You”, from the above album, is one of our all-time favorite recordings.
In 2007 she recorded the album, Raising Sand, with Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant. This unusual pairing was produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett.
The album was nominated for five Grammy Awards, and won all five, including Album Of The Year. Only three country albums have ever won that category.
Her latest album, Windy City, is an excellent collection of classic Country/Pop songs. Alison’s singing style is mostly Pop, the arrangements make it Country. Windy City might be the best album to stream if you’re still getting to know her. The ten songs are all good, and her vocals are impeccable.
It was a beautiful evening in July of 2011 when we saw Alison Krauss & Union Station at an outdoor concert in Bend, Oregon.
We were seated in the fourth row (good for taking photos), and the sound was perfect. Because it was an open-air theater, the music came to us, and then kept on going instead of bouncing around like it does in an auditorium. Alison Krauss’ voice was crystal clear and beautiful.
Union Station’s players were all impressive, and gave Alison great support on a wide range of uptempo songs, as well as ballads. Guitarist Dan Tyminski (in the center above) also contributed some lead vocals.
The concert concluded with the singers in harmony around a single microphone, and using only light acoustic accompaniment. It was gorgeous. Maybe they’re always this amazing, or maybe it was a magical night.