Alison Krauss and Union Station with Jerry Douglas
Saturday, July 14
The Alison Krauss and Union Station show at the Lawn felt like a homecoming of sorts for the decorated bluegrass legend.
A native of Champagne, Ill., who once played in an Indiana-based group called Classified Grass, Krauss had numerous friends and acquaintances in the sold-out audience, and unabashedly shared stories from those days with the rest of us. She talked of learning how to ride in a monster truck (hint: Lean into it.). Remember Ralph the bull, someone down in front called out? “I thought his name was Wart,” Krauss replied.
The camaraderie fit perfectly with the toe-tappin’ campfire jams executed efficiently and dexterously by Krauss and Union Station. Other selections from the two-hour performance were more country-flavored and lachrymose, giving balance to the evening.
Krauss’ name leads every marquee, but the members of Union Station shine on their own. Dan Tyminski leads the pack on acoustic guitar, and got one of the most rousing responses when he launched into “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. He talked about his thrill of being George Clooney’s singing voice in that movie, which his wife thoroughly enjoyed too. His lead singing on some of the songs performed, including the carefree hoedown “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn,” proved a nice complement to Krauss’ angelic and majestically soaring voice.
Legendary dobro player Jerry Douglas was a force. During an intermission, he performed a solo suite of songs, including an Irish tune and the Allman Brothers’ “Little Martha” that made “nimble” too weak a word to describe him.
While several spare compositions were performed — including “Jacob’s Dream” and the award-winning hosanna “A Living Prayer” — the night was really about having fun. From Tyminski’s impromptu dance routine to flubbing parts of the song that followed à la a Saturday Night Live sketch (which made it even more enjoyable), Krauss and Union Station really worked overtime to make the event feel more like a family reunion than a concert.