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Alison Krauss and Union Station
LONELY RUNS BOTH WAYS
(Rounder)

As Shania Twainís backing band on her new live-in-the-studio DVD Up! Close & Personal (Mercury), pop-bluegrass heavyweights Alison Krauss and Union Station display an admirable open-mindedness thatís too often the exception in Kraussís alt-country milieu; in the DVDís backstage featurette, she and singer/guitarist Dan Tyminski seem as engaged in tuning the intricate harmonies in Twainís polished ballads as they would be in making violins out of a tree grown at Hank Williamsís grave. Unfortunately for Krauss, the DVD also proves how good she is at being a sidewoman, a role the singer/fiddler has played with Twain, Brad Paisley, and Phish, among others. An expert player and stylist, she knows just how to rough up pop and smooth out country. So though Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison Krauss and Union Stationís new album, offers plenty of instrumental thrills and Kraussís high, pretty vocals, it also feels like dressing in search of a salad: fireside acoustic picking in "Wouldnít Be So Bad" but a melody as thin as smoke; heart-tugging vocal inflections in "Borderline" but not much to get emotional about. The most memorable numbers belong to Tyminski, whose "Rain Please Go Away" recalls his sublime work as a Soggy Bottom Boy in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

BY MIKAEL WOOD


Issue Date: January 7 - 13, 2005
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