Alison Krauss Rides 'O Brother' Wave
True to her traditional release pattern, Alison Krauss is following a solo effort -- in this case 1999's fine "Forget About It" -- with "New Favorite," a collection that reunites her with the band UniTrue to her traditional release pattern, Alison Krauss is following a solo effort -- in this case 1999's fine "Forget About It" -- with "New Favorite," a collection that reunites her with the band Union Station.
Released yesterday (Aug. 14) on Rounder, the project is the artist's first album with the group since 1997's "So Long So Wrong." It arrives as Krauss and her bandmates (guitarist/mandolinist/vocalist Dan Tyminski, banjoist/guitarist/vocalist Ron Block, acoustic bassist Barry Bales, and dobroist Jerry Douglas) are still riding the wave generated by the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, which featured their music. The act can also be found on the just-issued "Down From the Mountain: Live Concert Performances by the Artists and Musicians of O Brother, Where Art Thou?," a soundtrack to a documentary in which they also starred.
Krauss says the success of the soundtrack (which pulled in many of this year's Bluegrass Music Association Awards nominations, and helped Tyminski to a leading 10 nominations) did not have any bearing on the creative outcome of "New Favorite," although being the mother of a time-consuming young son did affect its production. "I can't throw the same fits I used to because there's no time," she says, adding that the project came together in three months.
Krauss and Union Station have long transcended the bluegrass/country categorization, but Rounder GM Paul Foley feels that "New Favorite" offers them "the best chance in a long time" in the country market, with both radio and CMT already playing the album's first single/video, "The Lucky One."
Margot St. John, music director at WOKO Burlington, Vt., says the station will be all over the single, having listened to the album "five times straight as soon as it came in, which I don't do often."
Foley says that the act will be on the road to tour for a year in support of the set. Currently the band has dates scheduled through Oct. 13 in Atlanta, kicking off with a two-night stand Aug. 15-16 at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, N.C.
Also in the offing is an early 2002 tour with fellow "O Brother" artists Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, and Norman Blake, as well as Patty Loveless, whose latest album, "Mountain Soul" (Epic), is in the same bluegrass vein. The tour will hit approximately 20 U.S. cities in January and February.