Alison Krauss 'comes out' on heavy metal

JANE STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 10:03 PM ET

Alison Krauss, angel-voiced soprano, renowned bluegrass fiddler, six-time Grammy winner and multi-platinum seller, has a confession to make.

She digs '70s rock.

Except that coming from Krauss, it doesn't sound like a confession so much as a proclamation.

"I love Bad Company, Foreigner - which is '80s too - AC/DC," says Krauss, on the phone from Greensboro, N.C., prior to her show tonight at Massey Hall with longtime band Union Station.

"I love hard rock. It's just the greatest. I love that stuff. I love anything done well. Paul Rodgers is just the greatest."

Naturally, Krauss, who was born and raised in Champaign, Ill., sounds incredibly bummed out when told she's missed Rodgers, former frontman for Bad Company, by a mere week. Rodgers played at the Guvernment last Friday.

"Oh, you're kidding! Agh!" she says. "I went to go see him play and missed his show. I got there too late. He was supposed to be the second person on and then he turned out to be the first person on and I was sick to my stomach. I waited years to see that. But I got my picture with him. I treasure it."

In fact, Krauss and her brother Viktor, who plays bass in Lyle Lovett's band, have been known to make home recordings of heavy metal tunes.

"Vik and I - we'd get the guitars out and turn the amps up as loud as they would go and play. That's fun."

Not that the songs will ever see the light of day.

"They'll never be released," says Krauss, "They're terrible. Not terrible like bad, terrible like really silly."

Krauss herself has been touring with her real band since April in support of her excellent seventh album, So Long, So Wrong, released on the independent label Rounder Records.

Much has been made of Krauss's gentle, hushed vocals on the new album, which features her singing sad, haunted songs.

After the breakthrough success of her last album, 1995's Now That I've Found You: A Collection, which sold two million, it's not exactly radio-friendly stuff, but who cares when its so beautiful-sounding. Not Krauss, apparently.

"People made a lot of comments about how differently I've sung some of the songs on this album," says Krauss. "They're really different types of songs, you're going to sing them a little bit different. You're not going to put a big fiddle solo in a song that doesn't call for one. I don't have any problem not hearing it. I've been hearing it up next to my head for the last 20 years."

Krauss is already a music veteran at age 26, having begun her career as a 14-year-old fiddle-playing phenomenon.

When asked to compare herself at that young age to current country sensation LeAnn Rimes, who just turned 15, Krauss admits: "I was probably not as together. I wasn't freaked out by it but I think she handles everything with a lot of grace. I was this total spaz. I was playing at bluegrass festivals and we weren't well-known when the band first started, by any means, so there are different kinds of pressures on her than were on me. I didn't think about anything. I was just 14 having a ball."

In addition to So Long, So Wrong, Krauss can also be heard singing Any Old Time on the recent Jimmie Rodgers' tribute album, the first release on Bob Dylan's Egyptian Records.

But, she reports, she was not hanging out with Dylan in the studio.

"We recorded that track like three years ago," says Krauss. "It sat around for so long. It was like rush, rush, rush to get it done and then it sat around for two and a half years."


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