Alison Krauss helped bring bluegrass to a new audience in the Ď90s. Blending bluegrass with folk, Krauss was instantly acclaimed from the start of her career, but it wasnít until her platinum-selling 1995 compilation Now That Iíve Found You that she became a mainstream star. Between her 1987 debut Too Late to Cry and Now That Iíve Found You, she matured from a child prodigy to a versatile, ambitious, and diverse musician and, in the process, made some of the freshest bluegrass of the late Ď80s and early Ď90s.
When she was five years old, Krauss began playing the violin, taking classical lessons. She soon tired of the regiments of classical playing and began performing country and bluegrass licks. At the age of eight, she began entering talent contests in and around her native Champaign, Illinois. Two years later, she had her own band. In 1983, when she was twelve years old, she won the Illinois State Fiddle Championship and the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America named her the Most Promising Fiddler in the Midwest. In 1985, Krauss made her recording debut on an album, playing on a record made by her brother Viktor, Jim Hoiles, and Bruce Weiss. The album was called Different Strokes and appeared on the independent Fiddle Tunes label. Later that year, she signed to Rounder Records. She was fourteen years old at the time.
Too Late to Cry, Kraussí debut album, appeared in 1987 to very positive reviews. The album was recorded with Kraussí backup band, the Union Station, which featured guitarist Jeff White, banjoist Alison Brown, and bassist Viktor Krauss; the following year, the group won the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in Americaís National Band Championship contest. In 1989, Krauss and Union Station released Two Highways, which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Recording. Although the album didnít win the award, her next album, 1990ís Iíve Got That Old Feeling, did. The success of Iíve Got That Old Feeling was unprecedented for bluegrass acts in the Ď80s and it laid the groundwork for Kraussí breakthrough in the Ď90s. By this time, Union Stationís lineup had more or less settled. It now featured mandolinist Adam Steffey, banjoist/guitarist Ron Block, bassist Barry Bales, and guitarist Tim Stafford; Stafford later left the group and was replaced by Dan Tyminski.
In 1992, Alison Krauss & Union Station released Every Time You Say Goodbye, which featured a typically eclectic array of material. The album appeared in the country charts and Kraussí videos were shown on Country Music Television. I Know Who Holds Tomorrow was released in 1994 and was even more successful. But it was the 1995 compilation Now That Iíve Found You: A Collection that made Krauss a star. The album reached number two on the country charts and - even more remarkably - went into the pop Top Ten and sold over a million copies. Its success confirmed her status as bluegrassí leading light in the Ď90s.
Krauss & Union Station followed the unexpected success of Now That Iíve Found You with So Long, So Wrong in spring 1997. Forget About It followed in mid-1999. A year later, Krauss & Union Station joined the likes of John Hartford, Ralph Stanley, and others for the multi-million-selling soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou? A North American tour showcasing some of the albumís stellar musicians followed in summer 2002, allowing Krauss and her bandís popularity to soar. New Favorite appeared in November and went gold within four months. A live album followed soon after, and in 2004 Krauss released Lonely Runs Both Ways. A Hundred Miles or More, a collection drawn from Kraussí Rounder albums, along with sides recorded for various soundtrack projects and five previously unreleased tracks, appeared in 2007.
Alison Krauss and Union Station features the talents of Krauss (fiddle and lead vocals), Dan Tyminski (guitar, mandolin and lead vocals), Barry Bales (bass and harmony vocals), Ron Block (banjo, guitar and harmony vocals), and Jerry Douglas (Dobro and harmony vocals). Paper Airplane was produced by the band and recorded in Nashville with engineer Mike Shipley (Maroon 5, The Cars, Def Leppard, Joni Mitchell). As bluegrass virtuosos the members of Union Station are beyond compare, and the music they create together transcends all genres. Their work on films such as ďCold MountainĒ and ďO Brother, Where Art Thou?Ē has contributed immeasurably to a renaissance of American roots music.