January 21, 2021

Summer Sounds from CM: Pickin’ and Grinnin’


Bluegrass and acoustic music of all kinds is a big part of summer. There are many great classic bluegrass groups and artists, but I’ll focus on the current generation today.

My wife knows all about it, so it’s safe for me to confess: I’ve been in love with Alison Krauss for years. And though I enjoy all her music, it’s when she picks up the fiddle and joins with Union Station to perform an old-school bluegrass tune that they really shine, in my eyes. Here’s a video that gives a brief tribute to one of her main influences, the beloved bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice, and then shows them together in a rollicking studio session.




  1. Sorry, you can’t be in love in Alison Krauss. She’s MY bluegrass girlfriend. Not yours. 😉

    (BTW, if you’ve never explored her picker Ron Block’s introspective Christian songs, stop what you’re doing right now and look them up.)

  2. I had the opportunity to be backstage at the Grand Ole Opry while Alison was there several years ago. She stood in the wing, tall, gorgeous and so calm. There had been chatter all night long backstage, people networking, telling stories from the road, etc. As Alison walked to the microphone and released the first note, you could hear a pin drop in the whole house. It was fascinating to witness, and I was transported along with the thousands there for a few precious moments. One of my all-time favorite Nashville moments by far.

  3. What, if anything, does this post have to do with the post-evangelical wilderness???

    I remain,
    Thoroughly Confused

  4. Radagast says

    Wow… very enjoyable.

    I admit that these days I would much rather listen to blue grass… off the beaten path from mainstream country. The likes of Suzie Boggus seem to be forever gone from that genre and all that is left is formula-bubblegum-no substance trash that makes me want to stuff cotton in my ears. But this… I will have to peruse a bit more.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Suzy is still out there and touring, I met her a couple of summers ago after a concert in CT while visiting family. Definitely worth following.
      Both Alison and Suzy have simply incredibly beautiful voices.

  5. Christiane says

    Alison Krauss . . .

    here, her friend Yo-Yo Ma speaks about her in an interview . . .

  6. Her voice melts the heart and gives light to the soul. I would accept female pastors if she would chant the liturgy. Her work with Union Station imparts peace to the weary pilgrim. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say her music is damned near sacramental! They have the uncanny ability to take the simplest melodies and chord progressions and breathe them so full of life and energy, one can’t help but be inspired. Few and far between are the songs which can pick me up on a rainy day, and they’re almost never done by Christians. But she can sing Donna Summer and brighten my day.

    • Can you hear it in your head? A bluegrass cover of “It’s Raining Men.” She could pull it off and make it enjoyable, you know it!

  7. As good a singer as she is, I miss her fiddling. If you get a chance, dig up her early work (“I’ve got that old feeling” and “Two Highways”).

    The spiritual nature of her recordings is very much a result of the influence of Ron Block, who plays banjo and guitar in her band. He also has some recordings you should seek out as well.

  8. Love all these musicians. They’re godfparents of the new acoustic movement.

    Some other great younger bands in the newgrass/new trad revival:

    Crooked Still
    Joy Kills Sorrow
    Sarah Jarosz
    Laura Cortese
    Abigail Washburn
    Infamous Stringdusters

    and of course…

    The Punch Brothers

    My faves, personally, for totally tweaking bluegrass out to new imaginative heights

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