ALISON KRAUSS + UNION STATION LIVE
Review by Mark Wiechman
Krauss, Barry Bales, Ron Block, Jerry Douglas, and Dan Tyminski
Audio: Dolby 5.1 and DTS, PCM Stereo
Video: 1.78 widescreen
Features: See Review
Length: Just under 2 hours
Release Date: July 15, 2003
I don't care if it rains, I don't
care if it's clear
I don't mind staying in, there's another ghost here
He sits down in your chair, and he shines with your light
And he lays down his head on your pillow at night
I'm just a ghost in this house/I'm
just a shadow upon these walls
I'm living proof of the damage heartbreak does
I'm just a whisper of smoke/I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control you took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house.
While the resurgence of "American" music can be
credited to many artists, Alison Krauss and Union Station should receive the
vast majority of credit for reviving and reinventing bluegrass.
Her clear-as-a-bell voice, excellent fiddling, virtuoistic ensemble
performing songs which weep like country, roll like bluegrass, and yet are new
and fresh as if they had never been done before.
A collection of her earlier recordings, "Now That I've Found
You," sold more than two million copies soon after release, which is
rare for a country album and unheard-of for a bluegrass album.
In reality their music is closer to acoustic pop than "real"
bluegrass but this live collection demonstrates their ability to do both
The songs make the collection though.
The heartbreak in "Ghost in this House" will thaw the hardest
heart, "Lucky One" will appeal to anyone who thinks they have fooled
anyone, and "When You Say Nothing At All" tops even the excellent
version by the late Keith Whitley, for whom this tribute was originally
recorded. I rarely hear his
original version anymore, but Alison's is everywhere.
When I visited Nashville in 2002, I saw her songbooks and albums
everywhere. No one there cares
about Britney or Christina. They
want the great fiddle girl. At
one point in the concert a male fan yells out "I love you Alison!
Yew!" Then another
cries "I love you more!" Jerry
Douglas replies, "This is not a race!"
Ironically the best-known song here by far is "Man
of Constant Sorrow" performed so well by Dan Tyminski in "O Brother
Where Art Thou?" Alison
also compliments Jerry Douglas as the best dobro player anywhere, and his skills
are on display here for the world to see. A
tough instrument for any guitarist, he makes it look easier than washing dishes.
They are not the liveliest bunch, since this is bluegrass
after all, but this video is very well-shot and directed, plenty of easy angle
changes which make it interesting without causing epileptic fits in viewers.
The setting is gorgeous with candles, lots of color, and the picture
itself is free from any defects I can see at all.
Acoustic music played this well deserves DTS and it
sounds excellent. With no
amplifiers to hide behind, bluegrass, like jazz, separates the pros from the
amateurs in music and music engineering, and the pros were definitely on duty
for this show. All instruments are
well-miked and mixed. I also have
heard the double CD and while that collection is great for what it is, it cannot
compare to the thumpy bass, clear guitars, and sultry vocals that resonate so
well through a DTS-enabled system. The
5.1 and stereo mixes are fine too, but DTS was made for acoustic instruments in
Disc Two includes exclusive interviews with the whole
band, behind the scenes A Haunting
video for the haunting ballad "New Favorite,"
the interview with Alison shows plenty of cutesy-pooh video footage which
does show her growing from a pudgy girl playing the fiddle into an attractive
young woman in musicals, bands, and of course playing her championship-level
I suspect the reason that the DVD package was delayed was
the gathering of all of this material. Extensive
and ambitious, would that all packages were half this interesting.