Alison Krauss and Union Station Lonely Runs Both Ways

Alison Krauss is in the both enviable yet difficult position of being one of the few current country stars who can reach platinum sales while retaining critical credibility. It is not an easy task to appeal to both the mainstream country audience and those whose tastes veer to the traditional or alt-country side. The minor creative stumble along the way is easily forgiven with this genuine and charming songstress, and this new disc is another solid addition to her now sizeable catalogue. The O Brother Where Art Thou boom of a few years back made a star out of Union Station’s ace guitarist Dan Tyminski. His strong and resonant voice is given the spotlight on a few songs here, and it provides a nice counterpoint to Krauss’s singing. Banjo player Ron Block shines on "I Don’t Have To Live This Way,” an album highlight. Krauss’ clear and pure voice may lack the slightly haunted aura of a Gillian Welch or Iris DiMent, but remains a delight. Occasionally the production becomes a little overblown and saccharine, but there are enough tunes adhering to Krauss’ bluegrass roots to keep fans of that style happy. (Rounder)