• Image about Alison Krauss
© Randee St. Nicholas

It’s a long process when we’re getting ready for an album. I gather stuff for years and years … I love that part of it. I love finding the tunes for things … With us, you only go with what moves you. And tunes come up that are really about what you feel like you have to say.

Here’s a great trivia question for your next dinner party: Name the female artist with the most Grammy Awards. Beyoncé? Nope. Streisand? Uh-uh. Aretha? Guess again. It’s Alison Krauss.

Since receiving her first Grammy in 1986 for her debut album with Union Station, Krauss has brought home 26 of the statues, most recently for her 2007 multiplatinum collaboration with Robert Plant, Raising Sand.

The accomplished singer/fiddle player/producer signed her first record deal with Rounder Records at age 14. In April, Krauss released Paper Airplane with her pals Union Station. This summer they embark on an extensive tour supporting the new record, including a stop at Bonnaroo (see story here).
On the bluegrass style of music that has won her critical acclaim: I think your style becomes what it is when you stop trying to have a style. As long as you are trying, you are contriving. It’s the influence of where you grew up, who you’re around, what you daydream about, what you read, what you watch. So many things make up your personality, and that’s exactly what your musical style is; it’s just another expression of your personality.

My influences growing up included Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe, Ricky Skaggs, Ralph Stanley. I love those guys in bluegrass, and I also listened to top 40 radio. I loved AC/DC and Paul Rodgers and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lou Gramm. All of those singing styles are related — who I loved in bluegrass and who I loved in rock ’n’ roll. Tony was a smoother singer, but Ralph and Ricky, that’s pretty serious power, singing hard. It was very raw and unrefined.

When on tour, I never leave home without Mama Dip cookbooks. I take them with me, and I read them cover to cover. Mama Dip is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and she has a restaurant there. She’s like the youngest of seven ... and has had such a passion for cooking since about age 3. I love those cookbooks because she has explanations of why and where something came from. It’s like American history; I would love to meet her.

When not on the road I like to roller skate. I also love going to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville and just standing in there. At home, I like walking around the block. I’m a little bit of a hermit.

I’m most proud of the company I keep in Union Station. I’m so proud of the history that we have made together. Everybody [Barry Bales, Ron Block, Jerry Douglas, and Dan Tyminski] has a strong, distinct personality with a different background and different musical tastes, and those differences really make the record. Everybody is very strong in their tastes and very passionate, which is a beautiful thing. You don’t play as beautifully as those guys do without being passionate and emotional people. That’s what makes this very interesting and makes the music what it is. It’s a person’s soul. That’s the part that communicates to the listener.