Alison Krauss and Union Station: Scottish debut
her to make her mark early. and it is easy to forget she is still only 24.
Being a big name on the bluegrass circuit. with a peripheral following on the country scene. is one thing. but the success of last year's Now That I've Found You album in the US pop charts was something else again. and all the more unexpected given that the disc is essentially a collection of previously 3 released material.
That clearly did not bother the record buying public. who have pushed her sales ﬁgures for the album — normally 4 measured in highly respectable six figure returns — to the two million mark. In October. Krauss stunned the country music world (and. to be honest. I herself), by lifting four major prizes from under the noses of the major labels at the CMA Awards in Nashville.
For those not familiar with the country music hierarchy, that is pretty much akin to an independent film scooping half-a-dozen Oscars. Rounder Records. Krauss's label. became the first indie to receive the Single of the Year prize since I968. and they may well have taken Album of the Year too. had it not. as a compilation. been ruled ineligible (oddly. its last minute replacement. Patty Loveless' When Fallen Angels Fly. won).
Krauss has been all over the country media ever since. and if she seems a little bemused by it all. it shows no signs oftuming her head. She is not what you would call the garrulous type in any case. and her response as she
lifted the Female Vocalist award — ‘What in the world's going on here. folks‘?‘ — seemed genuine enough. She remains insistent on being seen as part of Alison Krauss and Union Station rather than a solo artist, and has no plans to change direction.
‘The album we're making at the
j moment is a purely acoustic one. and
we would never think about changing
§ our music for the sake of commercial success. it‘s nice to do some other kinds of material and so on, but when
we do that. we think of it as branching out and having a little fun. Changing
. labels is not an issue either — we can
make the records we want at Rounder. and they allow us a freedom we
wouldn't have with a major label.’
Although her pure-voiced singing and glorious fiddling are firmly locked into bluegrass. Krauss admits that it was
something ofan accident that she f drifted into that music in the first place.
given her listening preferences as a kid.
‘My brother (bassist Viktor Krauss, who now plays with Lyle Lovett) and I played a lot of different kinds of music when we were growing up — we listened to jazz, rock, classical. and i loved bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company. it was really when l was about twelve or thirteen that I got into bluegrass. but then i forgot about pretty much everything else for a few years.‘ Alison K mass and Union Station play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Wed 24. with support from Marcus Hummon.
um:— Bllft high and olimng
The 60ft Dolls In rare vertical pose
Dance was the new punk. they were saying a few years ago. Probably because guitar music had gone woozy and wussy and you had to look to epic dance anthems to find the orgasmic potential in music that punk had unleashed afresh. Even now The Chemical Brothers are one of your best bets if you‘re after a climactic kick-ass track.
Welsh Luddites The 60ft Dolls would probably not welcome any comparison with the dance field. Hailing from Newport. a town awash with ‘Neanderthal rock 'n' roll bands' like them. they are quite unashamed to push the guitar power trio as the ultimate form of rock 'n’ roll. Their breakneck pop strops are traditional three-minute moshers, the way mum used to make them. not far removed from the basic likes ofGreen Day but without the Beavis and Butthead gormlessness. A past single appropriately bore the title ‘White Knuckle Ride'. Another track is tellingly called ‘No. l Pure Alcohol‘. so it's no surprise to find out their forthcoming debut album will feature songs about ‘the usual stuff, having a good time'.
‘Wejust let the songs stand up themselves. sit back and let them come out for themselves.‘ says bassist/vocalist Mike Cole. king steamer in a band with an awesome reputation for partying. Apart from that. and the fact that the singles. including the latest shouty melodic powerhouse ‘Stay‘ will appear on it. he‘s remaining tight-lipped about the album which the band are currently recording near their home base before heading out on another nationwide tour.
As well as causing havoc on the NME Bratbus tour this time last year. the Dolls have stepped out in support of Sleeper and The 800 Radleys, but their appeal is much more visceral than either of these outfits. and touring themselves into the ground only seems to have sharpened their live impact.
‘When we played our first gig I knew straightaway something was going to happen.‘ says Mike. ever the swagger merchant. Time to see ifthe 60ft queenies measure up. (Fiona Shepherd) The 60ft Dolls play The Venue. Edinburgh on Wed 1 7 and King Tats. Glasgow on Thurs I 8.
all bands/musicians take note now!
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