Alison Krauss & Union Station at the Orpheum, 9/13/2011
|Photos by Nick Wosika|
It is rare for artists these days to not have an opening act, but Alison needs no warm-up, jumping in and amazing the crowd with a track off her newest album Paper Airplane. The harmonies of Union Station and Alison are of those that have played together for years, much like a family, so it didn't surprise me too much when she introduced her band and included how many years she'd played with each one (20+ with the majority of them).
I knew I was in for a night of music, but I didn't realize I was also going to be treated to a night of stand-up comedy. Stating, "We are glad to be back," Alison continues, "We had a day off yesterday, so we went to that steak place -- what's it called? Murray's. 'Home of the The Silver Butterknife Steak.' Barry (bassist) has a rule that if something is the home of something, that's what you order. What did you think of the steak, Barry? Did you need a silver butter-knife?"
"I just looked at it and it fell apart," replied Barry, to the delight of the audience.
Alison has a voice that is as clear as a bell tone, evident in "Ghost in This House" and one of her first hits, "Baby, Now That I Found You." I've often wondered about how artists pen songs; if after they are finished they just know that a certain number is going to be a hit. Such is the case of "Every Time You Say Goodbye" where each line flows into the next, lead by Alison's soft soprano.
|Photos by Nick Wosika|
Although the songs with Alison singing lead were the highlights of the show, you cannot discredit her band, Union Station. Dan Tyminski, who filled in for George Clooney's vocals in O Brother, Where Art Thou?'s "Man of Constant Sorrow," shined when he took the lead. I've always loved the sound of the banjo, and Ron Block is one of the most talented banjo players in country music.
As bare-bones as bluegrass already is, Alison and her band came back with even less instrumentation for their encore, which included her biggest hit "When You Say Nothing At All" and "Whiskey Lullaby," a duet which was recorded with country artist Brad Paisley that tells of heartache and, what else, whiskey. My personal favorite was, again from the Coen Brothers' O Brother, "Down to the River to Pray," a piece that focuses on Alison's angelic voice.
When I said tonight's show unfolded like a movie, I was not exaggerating. Each instrument played a part and each song was deliberate in the weaving of the story.
Critic's bias: As a teen -- which was three years ago *cough, cough*, amongst my grunge music stage, I fell in love with Alison's music and it has held the test of time. Musicians should strive to make music that has longevity, like Krauss, rather than what is trending.
The crowd: Mostly middle aged to older couples.
Overheard in the crowd: "They need to finish this show so people can get home to sleep."
Random notebook dump: I wonder how much dust settled on the drum kit which sat empty save 4 or 5 songs.
For more photos: See our full slideshow by Nick Wosika.
Dust Bowl Children
Let Me Touch You For Awhile
Ghost in this House
Baby, Now That I've Found You
Rain Please Go Away
Sawing on the Strings
Wild Bill Jones
Every Time You Say Goodbye
Jerry Douglas Instrumental
Pastures of Plenty
The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn
Dimming of the Day
*******Song I Couldn't Figure Out**************
Bonita & Bill Butler
Miles To Go
Man of Constant Sorrow
Any Old Time
When You Say Nothing At All
Down to the River to Pray
Your Long Journey
There is a Reason