Record Review - 5 October 10 2001

If there is a supergroup in bluegrass, it's Union Station. Alison Krauss is one of the best-known artists in the genre, and a large part of her success is due to the caliber of musicians in her band. This is one top-notch group, and its members seem almost psychic in their musical connection. To that end, New Favorite is an exemplary showcase for Union Station, and it marks a new level of maturity for the still young but seasoned Krauss.

With a record deal that allows her the freedom to alternate solo albums with Union Station releases, Krauss has the best of both worlds. On New Favorite, Krauss takes a democratic stance, giving the other band members plenty of front time. She has several aces in the hole: Dan Tyminski on guitar and vocals (whose recent cover of "Man of Constant Sorrow" took the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack to the top of the country charts); Jerry Douglas, considered the world's top dobro player; banjo player and vocalist Ron Block (who has a new solo album out); and bassist Barry Bales.

New Favorite starts out on a somber note and moves toward the melancholy coda of the title track, penned by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Whether its the lead vocals of Krauss, Tyminski or Block, or a hot instrumental track that gives everyone a turn in the spotlight, New Favorite's precise blend of technique and emotion never falters.

Allison Krauss and Union Station play Sat., Oct. 13, at the Fox Theatre.??