Alison Krauss & Union Station: Ron Block (vocals, guitar, banjo); Dan Tyminski (vocals, guitar); Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle, viola); Jerry Douglas (lap steel guitar, dobro); Barry Bales (bass instrument, background vocals). In a world where popular … see full wiki
Cons: More pure instrumentals would have been nice.
The Bottom Line: Lonely Runs Both Ways continues AKUS unbroken string of seriously good music; this is a talented group of people who seem to have fun playing together.
Like a moth drawn inexorably to the flickering flame, I am drawn to Alison Krauss and her blue grass band Union Station. And this is never the kind of music I thought I would ever be drawn to, but something in its simple beauty, the uncomplicated eloquence of its instrumentation, the quiet honesty in the music, speaks to me. Perhaps it is the poet in me that appreciates the message of the music and its affects on my soul. Whatever it is I like it, and the more I listen to Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS), the more I grow to love this (almost) purely American genre of music.
I bought Lonely Runs Both Ways without ever hearing a track from the album. I so enjoyed the music on the live release of AKUS, that I took a chance on their latest release; I gambled that it would be as good or better then the bands past efforts, and I was not disappointed. Though that all too familiar blue grass sound it there, there is freshness to the music as well. Although AKUS are widely considered the sound of todays blue grass, the band was not content to sit on their laurels; each track on Lonely Runs Both Ways is fresh, crisp, and new. And it might be just me but Ms Krauss has taken her voice to another level; on two tracks in particular, Doesn't Have To Be This Way and A Living Prayer, her voice reaches new heights, and its all good!
Upon receiving the CD (I ordered it from BMG), one of the first things I noticed was Alison Krausss new look on the cover. She has grown out her golden locks and is wearing a low cut, floor length teal gown that hugs her small frame quite admirably. The effect is a sexy new look for the mother of blue grass, and she actually looks a little embarrassed, or is that shyness draped over her soft pretty face, as she stands surrounded by her band-mates? Is this Alisons attempt to tell us that is a new woman; to announce to the world that she is now fully grown multi-faceted lady?
If so, then that new maturity is reflected in the music of AKUS, but I have to admit that right out of the plastic, the CD did not immediately hold my interest. However after a few quiet hours listening and absorbing the music, I am happy to report that I love Lonely Runs Both Ways. Though I would have preferred more instrumentalsas it stands there is just one, track No. 5 Unionhouse Branchbut the instrumentation on the rest of the CD is classic AKUS. All of the staple instruments I have grown to love are there: the soulful violin and viola of Alison Krauss; the achingly beautiful dobro of Jerry Douglas, the earthy banjo of Ron Block, the deep bass of Barry Bales and the essential guitar of Dan Tyminski. Larry Alamanuik joins the band on some tracks on drums and percussion.
The music on Lonely Runs Both Ways is not rushed, and certainly not over-produced, the right balance is struck and each member is afforded a chance to shine within the bosom of group. Lonely Runs Both Ways is a sweet mixture of good music with meaning; the lyrics are sharp and full of depth. For instance on track No. 7 Pastures of Plenty Dan Tyminski takes lead vocal duties on this traditional, patriotic tune written by Woody Guthrie. Tyminskis voice has an earthy, honest quality to its tenor that is hard to ignore. The song is a more a hymn than a ballad in the truer sense, and Tyminski belts it out with real feeling.
On the last track No. 15 A Living Prayer is absolutely spiritual written by Ron Block. The number is quiet, respectful; indeed we get to hear Alison voice and just a pair of guitars for backup. After listening to this song there can be no doubt that Alison is a deeply spiritual person; she pours her soul into this number and in so doing takes her voice to a new place, especially during the chorus: In your love I find release, a haven from my unbelief, take my life and let me be a living prayer my God to thee... She owns the bridge; her voice rings out clear and crisp; who know Alison was so soulful. Now I am not a deeply religious person, but I love this track; it is music as it was meant to be played and heard.
Lonely Runs Both Ways continues AKUS unbroken string of seriously good music; this is a talented group of people who seem to have fun playing together. They are a family as much as a group and that dedication to each other comes across clearly in their music. The full measure of their appeal to this reviewer is that I never tire of listening to their contemporary brand of blue grass; in deed a grave more. When is their next album due?
Lonely Runs Both Ways is: Alison Krauss, lead vocal, fiddle, & violin. Union Station comprises Dan Tyminski, acoustic guitar, lead and harmony vocalist; Jerry Douglas, dobro; Ron Block, banjo and guitar; Barry Bales, upright bass.
Track Listing: 1. Gravity 2. Restless 3. Rain Please Go Away 4. Goodbye is All We Have 5. Unionhouse Branch 6. Wouldnt Be So Bad 7. Pasture of Plenty 8. Crazy As Me 9. Borderline 10. My Poor Old Heart 11. This Sad Song 12. Doesnt Have to be This Way 13. I Dont Have to Live This Way 14. If I didnt Know Any Better 15. A Living Prayer