Krauss worth the wait 

We probably weren’t alone in feeling a little indifferent Saturday leading up to the Alison Krauss and Union Station show at Alltel Arena.

We’d seen them before, and we’d also seen the incomparable dobro-playing Jerry Douglas performing away from his AKUS gig at Mountain View last year. Krauss’ public relations firm, for which she’s apparently paying way more than she’s getting, didn’t do anything in terms of promotional help for us or the daily down the street considering AKUS had postponed twice here since March. We started feeling that, outside of Alltel Arena’s people, nobody much cared.

Skipping the show for a movie was briefly contemplated as I and Mrs. Entertainment left our new favorite restaurant, Ed David’s Deep South-meets-Southwest Bubba and Garcia’s for the rest of the evening.

Since tickets were waiting, however, we chose Alison, and after a two-hour show of impeccable instrumentation and some of the most gorgeous singing and harmonizing you could ever hear, we were glad of it. We learned more about Krauss than we ever could in any interview, and we didn’t encounter anyone leaving who didn’t enjoy the concert.

It was pretty obvious early in the show that the band was wary of what the crowd’s reaction to them would be, too, having ducked two shows. We’re tied with Savannah, Ga., for the most AKUS postponements, Alison joked. We didn’t want her coughing up a lung on us last time, she assured. Apologies were issued all around.

The more Krauss talked, the more fun-yet-flighty she sounded. In putting some breaks in between the mix of bluegrass and country, Krauss introduced and interviewed each band member. We learned that bassist Barry Bales discovered duck hunting for the first time in Carlisle, driving half a day from his East Tennessee home, and he’s been hooked ever since. Mandolin and guitar player Dan Tyminski, whose singing voice was dubbed over George Clooney’s in “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” told us he’d learned his wife’s fantasy was Dan’s voice coming out of George’s face.

It was easy to spot Douglas’ instrumental greatness even in the midst of rest of the band’s playing, but he also got his own 10-minute instrumental medley covering rocking country and blues. We learned that guitarist and banjoist Ron Block has a catalog of great songs, and the band proved it on his “A Living Prayer” as its closing encore, following up the “O Brother” hymn, “Down to the River to Pray.” We learned, as Alison took off on tangents while telling another story about herself, of her admiration for Crystal Gayle and Michael McDonald.

She and the band put a great spin on the Foundation’s oldies classic “You Don’t Need Me” and rocked on a regular-set closing “Oh, Atlanta.” Earlier she brought pause to the crowd with a touching rendition of “When You Say Nothing at All,” the Ronan Keating song used in the film “Notting Hill.”

“That’s for giving us that great song,” a fan a few rows behind us said. We couldn’t have said it better, for that and many others Saturday.

Great songs were in abundance Thursday at Juanita’s when Cracker’s David Lowery and Johnny Hickman performed what was dubbed an “unplugged” show. You can’t keep Hickman unplugged, though, and he has electric guitar doing tricks. Again, whether performed with a four-piece band or in a slower style, you’re going to know a great song, and the witty “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” is that. So is “Low.” And Hickman’s yearning on “Another Song About the Rain.”

Hickman has a solo album out with more witty lyrics such as on “The San Bernadino Boy.” And Hickman confessed to being a wannabe stalker of Lowery’s earlier band, Camper Van Beethoven, and they trotted out a few Camper tunes that will never sound dated to us, such as “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and “Sad Lover’s Waltz.”



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Abuse in nursing homes: Another reason to oppose 'tort reform'

    CNN couldn't have been more timely for Arkansas with a monumental investigation of nursing home abuse cases around the country. Advocates for nursing home patients say it illustrates what's wrong with the legislative push to make it unprofitable to sue over nursing home abuse.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More gun sense from Rep. Clarke Tucker

    Gun sense legislation from Rep. Clarke Tucker. Just because it makes sense doesn't mean the gun lobby will allow it.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • A morals clause at the emergency room: Your legislature at work

    The chamber of horrors known as the Arkansas legislature rolls on. Latest installment: A "freedom of conscience" bill for health care providers from Sens. Jason Rapert and Linda Collins-Smith and Rep. Brandt Smith.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

More by Jim Harris

Most Shared

Latest in Jim Harris

  • What a great, fast eight years

    Eight years. I’ve really been “at the job” of newspapers for much longer, it just focused on entertainment during these past eight years. Starting next week, it will focus on sports. Again. Where I started eons ago.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Mickelson goes by the numbers

    It's all in the short game, Phil Mickelson says s at Alotian.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Back to what I really love

    Where was I, the sports lover, the guy who couldn’t wait for Dickey-Stephens to open, a few of you may ask? I was checking out one of my other loves: a local, original music show at Juanita’s that the University of Central Arkansas Honors College had pull
    • Apr 23, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

"Locally Labeled" passport expands to accommodate booming brew scene

"Locally Labeled" passport expands to accommodate booming brew scene

As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Momentum

    Sure, I'd like to think that Pearls About Swine, that modest batch of haphazard prose, had something to do with motivating Arkansas's beleaguered basketball program to rise from a seemingly inestimable late-season swoon to re-emerge in the NCAA Tournament discussion.

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation