Camaraderie between Alison Krauss & Union Station makes for memorable Beaver Creek show
Special to the Daily
BEAVER CREEK — On Friday night, Alison Krauss & Union Station treated the audience at the Vilar Performing Arts Center to an exceptional, sold-out concert.
From the moment the musicians took the stage, the house was theirs, with whistles and shouts from the audience continuing throughout the evening between each song.
Otherwise, you could hear a pin drop: Krauss’ voice was at times a hushed tone before belting out a verse.
Yet it was the evident camaraderie of the musicians, who have played together for almost 25 years, that made the evening so memorable. There is a unique relationship between Krauss on fiddle, singer-guitarist Dan Tyminski, bassist Barry Bales, banjo and guitar player Ron Block and world-renowned dobro player Jerry Douglas. Their roots are traditional bluegrass yet they have created sort of a country-pop-bluegrass-folk fusion that has massive appeal.
The show opened with Krauss singing “Paper Airplane,” the title track from her 2011 album with Union Station, in her inimitable, effortless style. Then she stepped back and fiddled along with the entire ensemble, just what you’d expect from this easy going, unassuming performer who has won 27 Grammy Awards, tying her with Quincy Jones as the most awarded living recipient.
But she was quick to let Tyminski take center stage with his gusty, down-home rendition of bluegrass musician Peter Rowan’s folk classic “Dust Bowl Children” and later in the evening during “Bonita and Bill Butler.” Then Douglas showed off his genius dobro skills with a rich and complex composition that he explained was composed early in his career. Not to mention Block’s sterling musicianship on banjo and guitar.
It was a varied set from Krauss, with her angelic, mesmerizing voice giving her fans exactly what they came for, and there were more solo spots from Tyminski, who was the singing voice for George Clooney in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.”
The STORIES OF BLUEGRASS
The songs were nearly all familiar, a couple forgettable but, for the most part, fantastic. Of course, bluegrass is steeped in tradition and has its recurring themes and characters — and the audience was all ears when it came to hearing the stories.
The musicians ended the evening by putting their instruments down to gather around a single microphone for an encore that was pure harmony: Krauss’ highest-charting single, “When You Say Nothing At All,” then an a cappella “Down To The River To Pray,” to name a few.
Tyminski once told a reporter, “We’re all aware that we have something special when we’re together.” And that was evident at Friday night’s concert. Krauss bridges the gap between roots music, country and pop and Union Station is right there to back her up — and she for them with what has been described as her “effortless delicacy.”
That’s what the audience came for and Krauss did not disappoint.