Alison Krauss

  • Bluegrass/Country singer and musician born in Decatur Illinois in 1971.
  • She began lessons in violin at the age of 5, and at 8 she was entering talent contests, playing bluegrass music. At 10, she started a band, and at 13, she won the Walnut Valley Fiddle Championship. She joined a bluegrass band called Silver Rail when she was 12 – the name was changed to Union Station, and this band has been Krauss’ backup band for 6 studio albums.
  • Her first recording was in 1985, when she played fiddle and sang on a traditional bluegrass album called Different Strokes, released by her brother Viktor. Later that year, she was signed to a recording contract, and in 1987, her debut album was released – Too Late To Cry. Two years later, her first group album with Union Station was released, Two Highways. 
  • Her first album to chart on the Billboard 200 album chart was 1990’s I’ve Got That Old Feeling, a solo album. It reached #75 on the Country chart, and it earned Krauss her first Grammy award for Best Bluegrass Recording – her first of 27 Grammy awards, the most of any woman in history, and tied for second for all time wins (classical music conductor Georg Stolti has 31, and record producer Quincy Jones also has 27).
  • Her second Union Station album, Everytime You Say Goodbye, was released in 1992, winning her second Grammy. She joined the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 21 – the first bluegrass artist invited to join in 29 years. In 1994, she collaborated on the song Somewhere In the Vicinity of the Heart with Shenandoah, which was her first top 10 song on the country charts.
  • In 1995, a compilation album, Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection was released. It contained some of her older work, as well as covers of songs from other artists, including non-country artists like Bad Company and The Beatles. It was her first album to sell over 1 million copies – ultimately, it was certified 2x platinum, peaking at #2 on the Country Album chart, and at #13 on the Billboard 200 album chart, which crosses over all music genres.
  • In 1995, Union Station contributed to a Keith Whitley tribute album – Whitley died in 1989 at the age of 34 from alcohol poisoning. Their cover of the song When You Say Nothing At All peaked at #3 on the Country chart. In 1997, So Long So Wrong was released – the first of 6 consecutive top 10 country albums. Her last 2 albums – Paper Airplane in 2011 (with Union Station) and Windy City in 2017 both peaked at #1.
  • In 2000, Krauss sang backing vocals to Kenny Rogers’ song Buy Me A Rose. It reached #1 on the Country chart – the only single where she is credited that reached the top of a singles chart. She also performed a duet with Brad Paisley in 2004, Whiskey Lullaby, that made it to #3 on the chart, selling over 2 million copies in the U.S.
  • A unique album was released in 2007. Called Rising Sand, it was a collaboration with Robert Plant, lead singer from the rock band Led Zeppelin. The album won Album of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards, as well as 4 other Grammy awards. It was certified platinum, peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and at #1 on the Rock Albums chart.
  • Krauss has contributed to several film soundtracks – most notably, 2001’s O Brother Where Art Thou? and 2004’s Cold Mountain. These performances have increased America’s interest in bluegrass music.
  • Krauss has won 27 Grammy awards, the most of any woman, and third most of any artist (she trails Quincy Jones and classical conductor George Solti). In 2019, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
  • Bluegrass doesn’t get a lot of publicity. But if you are a lover a music, you should listen to the talented skills of artists who play traditional bluegrass instruments – fiddle, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, dobro and acoustic guitar. As amazing as her fiddle playing is, her voice is just as amazing. Here is her performance of When You Say Nothing At All at the White House for the Obamas. Enjoy.

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