Alison Krauss has set new bluegrass music standards as a violinist, fiddle player, and fascinating singer. Considered a child prodigy, she was awarded a Grammy 28 times between 1990 and 2012 – more than any other artist. She has also received several CMA awards and international bluegrass awards, and in 2012 she received an honorary doctorate in music from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Above all, it’s her unmistakable and melancholy voice that she can do and express with her, which gives fans goosebumps over and over again. But Alison Krauss is active as a singer, but she also produces other Bluegrass bands such as The Cox Family, Nickel Creek, or Alan Jackson.
Alison Krauss was born on July 23, 1971, Born in Decatur, Illinois, USA. The parents – the father, a psychologist from Germany, and the mother, a painter – supported their daughter in her artistic ambitions from an early age. She started playing the violin at the age of five and took classical music lessons. But soon, she was much more interested in country and bluegrass music. When she was eight years old, she began participating in talent competitions in her hometown of Champaign, Illinois, and in the surrounding area, and by the age of ten, she had her first band.
At the age of 12, she won the Illinois State Fiddle Championship. After that, the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America named her the “Greatest Fiddler Young Talent in the Midwest.” Bluegrass is a kind of poor people’s music that emerged in the 1930s and 1940s from a colorful mix of gospel, hillbilly, blues, and jazz. Bluegrass can be recognized by the sounds of banjo, mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and double bass. Bluegrass is rural romance, but also hard work and a down-to-earth attitude – it’s simply about elementary human values: “Family, love, work – that’s what it was about,” said Alison Krauss about the music, She was sponsored by bluegrass “inventor” Bill Monroe and was the prodigy of the bluegrass scene. When she recorded her debut album, she was just 16 years old. At that time, her voice was part of the arrangement alongside the fiddle. She was not yet 20 years old when she got her first Grammy. At the age of 21, she was accepted into the “Grand Ole Opry” – a kind of country hall of fame. Her albums reached millions of copies – a real achievement for a bluegrass artist. In 1995 she even got four Grammys.
She owed her next career boost to the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen. In 2000 they decided to incorporate bluegrass songs into their George Clooney film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” The soundtrack sold more than eight million copies in the US alone, and Alison Krauss became internationally known. But she was more than an interpreter of traditional sounds. Together with her band “Union Station,” she developed the genre bluegrass further. She created a kind of acoustic pop music by mixing country and bluegrass with modern pop elements. It made music more popular and softer, but without abandoning tradition.
For Alison Krauss, art is not least the “wonderful expression of human emotion.” With her band “Union Station” – Dan Tyminski (guitar and vocals) as well as Ron Block (banjo, guitar, and vocals), Barry Bales (bass and vocals), and Jerry Douglas (Dobro) – she succeeded in creating this work of art again and again. It is mostly her voice that enchants her audience, and great artists such as Sting, James Taylor, or Robert Plant from “Led Zeppelin” (2007) have worked on projects with her.