Alison Krauss Sweats the Big Stuff

For all the awards and accolades Alison Krauss has scored in the music business since she was a teenager, she still maintains a distinct humility coupled with a wicked self-deprecating sense of humor.

“I’m just real excited,” Krauss told the Louisville, Ky., crowd as she began co-hosting the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards on Oct. 2., with Union Station bandmate Dan Tyminski. “My pits are sweating already!”

While bluegrass aficionados in the crowd reveled in the verbal jabs she inflicted on herself during the evening, the peers in her genre also showed their respect to the former prodigy by anointing her and Union Station with the album of the year, for Live.

The bluegrass star is up for another industry prize at the 37th annual Country Music Awards on Nov. 5, but Krauss says she wouldn’t mind if she plays second fiddle to Dolly Parton for female vocalist of the year.

“I was so happy to see Dolly nominated, who to me, will always be the female vocalist of every year to come forever,” Krauss told CMT news. “She’s just such an amazing person and an amazing example of a woman. I just love to see her honored any time she’s brought up.”

Parton, Krauss, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride and Terri Clark are all vying for the trophy. An astonished Krauss won the award in 1995. That same year, she won for the single “When You Say Nothing At All,” for the vocal event “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” with Shenandoah, and the Horizon Award. (In addition to a career total of 12 nominations, Krauss also shared the win in 2001 for the soundtrack album O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

“We were so lucky almost 10 years ago to get a bunch of nominations,” Krauss recalls. “I remember we thought that was kind of weird. How come that happened like it happened? And we never figured it would happen again.”

Krauss and her band will be center stage at the CMA awards show this year, performing “Every Time You Say Goodbye,” one of the cuts from her platinum-certified (for shipment of 1 million copies) album, Live.

“It’s quite a different experience making a live album than making a normal record because when you’re making a new record, you’re creating something new,” Krauss says.
“You get a real charge out of hearing something new and putting it together, and it’s very exciting.”

Krauss and her band recorded their first live project on April 29-30, 2002, at the Louisville Palace in Louisville, Ky.

“We recorded, I think, four or five shows because we wanted to make sure that we had everything that we needed,” Tyminski says. “We just ended up having a good night so we … used one show for the record.

“We love live music,” Tyminski continues. “We all grew up on live music. We were really nervous going into that. We really wanted it to come out well.”

Krauss thought the experience was a more arresting challenge than her usual studio recordings. “You’re really being a policeman to what you’ve already done, so you don’t get the same rewards from it. You just get ’Well, I guess that’s OK, and we’ll keep it forever and never get to fix it again.’ So, it doesn’t have the same rewards, not even close to the same rewards,” she laughs.

“It was a tough thing to do, to play those tunes for the last whatever year we had been doing the show before we made the record and you’re like, ’Oh, we really have to hear this again.’ But we got through it. I haven’t listened to the whole thing back to back. We listened to it as we went. I don’t know if I’ll ever maybe pick it up to listen to again. But we’ve been lucky and the guys seem to like it so I think we’ll be alright.”