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on 15 November 2005
15 of the most sublime songs you will have heard all year. Being a 'country' or bluegrass fan, one takes alot of stick but I wish I could impress upon those who mock, how varied country can be and in Alison Krauss you'll find tub thumping fine sassy beats like 'Unionhouse Branch', songs of the most bittersweet regret like 'Goodbye is all we have' and 'Doesn't have to be this way' and the awe inspiring vocal heights displayed on 'Living Prayer'. I took a friend new to the AKUS phenomena, to see them play in Manchester this September; she was rightly blown away by the quality of the performance and Alison's angelic voice. I am all out of superlatives to describe how rich this album is; if only one person reads this and buys the album, I'll be pleased to have spread the word. Go on... you won't be disappointed!
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on 7 January 2005
I've been an AKUS fan since hearing them perform "Baby, now that I've found you" on TOTP2 some years ago (yes, I can actually say thank you to Steve Wright for something!). I was a convert, since when AKUS have opened up completely new musical horizons for me.
Having really enjoyed Forget About It (Alison's solo album) and New Favourite (Alison with Union Station) as well as the superb Live DVD, I honestly thought that AKUS could not surpass what they'd already achieved artistically and musically. I am so glad I was wrong. These people just keep getting better.
My personal favourites on the album are "Gravity", "Goodbye is all we have" and "Crazy as me", but every song has its own magical quality. Some wonderful solo touches in "Unionhouse Branch", all of this band know how to play. I would love to see AKUS become big in the UK and pray that one day I will get to see them live...please tour the UK sometime, music like this needs to be heard.
Alison and the guys, you are my musical heroes.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2004
I'm listening to this as I type: although this isn't a progression from other AKUS albums, it's still quite marvellous. In her work with Union Station, Alison Krauss always seems to find real passion, which is something I find missing from so many modern Country vocalists. And people always talk about Eva Cassidy having a pure voice - well, let's admit it - Eva Cassidy is nothing compared to Alison Krauss....
Yes, the double-live album is the best place to start for newbies, but if you're looking for mature Country music, or an entry into bluegrass, you could do much, much worse than this. Someone else has already referred to "Unionhouse Branch", which shows what AKUS can do musically, but there is a strong thread running throughout the album.
This IS a grower of an album, but it is SO worth giving a chance - it will reward you again and again and again.
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2006
I must confess, I'm more of an Alison Krauss fan than a Union Station fan. Her voice is something very special and I tend to skip past the songs where she isn't singing.

Luckily the majority of the songs on this album are sung by Alison, which Jerry Douglas' brilliant slide-guitar work in the background. This is not to say that the other songs are bad, they're actually very good, with a more traditional bluegrass sound. "Pastures of plenty" is a particular non-Alison hilight for me.

The Alison tracks don't disappoint, wonders such as Gravity, Restless, Goodbye is all we have and If I didn't know any better are all worth buying the album for.

If you check out the official Alison Krauss website, you can watch the video's for a couple of the songs on this album. Well worth a look.

This is a worthy addition to any collection, possibly better than New Favourite too.
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on 28 November 2004
A huge fan of AKUS and this type of music I was eagerly looking forward to this album arriving in the post. Reaction on first listening? Disappointing. But, to be fair, I gave it time, and now I am getting used to it.
There will be those who are frustrated that the band seem to be moving away from their bluegrass roots, and it is true that the album lacks that energy on the whole. Alison herself seems to be tempted to appeal to the adult contemporary audience that have recently warmed to the band: she is not using her amazing voice in the way that graced "The Lucky One" from New Favourite or "Forget About It" from her "solo" album of the same name but is instead tempted to sing with a soft and breathy style.
There are some very strong moments on the album though: Alison's fiddle playing has not sounded as good as it does on Unionhouse Branch for ages, the opening song "Gravity" is gorgeous (in spite of the relatively weak vocal) and the closing song "A Living Prayer" is superb and sweet in its simplicity.
In summary: a lovely album that deserves 4 stars, but for their (so far) career peak I would recommend New Favourite or the recent live double instead if you are only going to buy one.
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on 1 June 2006
I have been listening to AKUS for several years now and Lonely Runs Both Ways is the best yet. I agree with other reviewers that it represents two quite different genres, but the magic of this recording is that they intertwine so gracefully you don't really notice.

The standout tracks for me are the ballads Borderline (penned by some of the Cox family) and Wouldnt Be So Bad (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) - heartrendingly sad and beautifully written and performed.

But every track is brilliant in its own way. Don't miss this one.
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on 19 November 2004
Alison Krauss has an exceptional voice on whatever she performs but the key to this album (and New Favourite which preceded it) is the combination with the superb musicianship of Union Sation. This is fine bluegrass music by performers on top of the game.
The album does not really stretch the pattern of 'New Favourite' but generally offers more of the same; wistful and serene balladry interspersed with bluegrass tracks (again with some vocals by the band too). If you want to carp then perhaps it lacks a real standout track but the quality never really dips and it makes a fine companion to 'New Favourite'.
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2004
Since the release of their last studio album in 2001, New Favorite, Alison Krauss & Union Station have been making themselves known across the world.
Alison Krauss most recently duetted with Brad Paisley in their haunting song 'Whiskey Lullaby', which the duo performed live at the 38th CMA Awards in Nashville, and duly took home two awards for Music Video of the Year and Musical Event of the Year.
Dan Tyminski has been basking in success from his role as George Clooney's singing voice in the movie 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?', and saw the European release of his solo album 'Carry Me Across The Mountain' on Southbound Records.
Jerry Douglas, Ron Block and Barry Bales have been hijacked many times over this period to lend their incredible musical talents to other artists' recordings.
However, the most notable development since New Favorite is the band's first live album, simply entitled 'Live', in 2002, and subsequently the DVD of the same show. The album racked up enough sales to have it accredited with both gold and platinum certification on the same date. Live paved the way for greater things to come, but also raised the expectations of the awaiting audiences.
'Lonely Runs Both Ways', the band's new studio album, certainly doesn't disappoint. It's a delicate blend of perfect music, performed by some of the world's top musicians. Of course, no AKUS album would be complete without the enchantingly beautiful voice of Alison herself.
The album starts straight off with the moving 'Gravity' (no pun intended) and 'Restless', emblazened with harmony vocals to die for, and outstanding lyrical talent. We're then thrown straight into the deep end with Tyminski's rendition of 'Rain Please Go Away'.
Of course, Jerry Douglas' customary instrumental doesn't disappoint, either. 'Unionhouse Branch' is an energetic compendium of solos that tires you out just by listening to it. Similar things can be said for 'This Sad Song', which in fact, is not sad-sounding at all. In similar fashion to the instrumental, the song is carefully crafted to keep you hooked.
'Pastures of Plenty' throws that whole idea out of the window by employing a minimalistic, laid-back rhythm, with Dan's vocals to add to the atmosphere. At the end of the album, the beautiful 'A Living Prayer' is the album's gospel song, but will appeal to worshipers and non-believers alike.
The 15 tracks of this album are simply some of the best music you'll hear today, and make a perfect addition to any country fan's CD collection, or indeed, any true music fan no matter what their genre.
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on 21 April 2007
So many other reviews have so succinctly said what I fear I may fail to say. I was working her Birmingham 2005 concert when Restless stopped me in my tracks. As a Steward it is a rare, fine musical band that can cajole me into buying two of their CDs instantly, on the face of one beautiful song.....but am I glad!

AKUS's music could be for those gentle folk who do not want to admit to liking some country music. It could be for those who like exquisite harmonies and pure sound. Or it could simply be for those who love. If you've never been dumped.....if you've never felt crushed....if you've never looked into someone's eyes and seen their soul stare back, then for god's sake buy this album. You simply haven't lived.
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on 14 April 2007
All I can do when someone tells me they have never heard of Alison Krauss & Union Station is smile and realise how I am 'The Lucky One' 'Now That I've Found You' .... truly a 'New Favourite'

Seriously though, how can anyone not be drawn in if they ever get round to owning any AKUS music. Seeing them in concert in Birmingham in Sept.2005 was nothing short of a privilege and something I will treasure until the day I die. If only they knew how much they mean to their fans in the UK I am sure they would pay us a visit more often.

Truly they are a gift.

If anyone is wondering what the hell I am talking about - first of all ditch your pre-conceptions about Country music, then do yourself a favour and buy this album or 'New Favourite' or 'Forget About It' or, as a real treat, get the LIVE DVD. Then sit back, relax, enjoy and wonder why on earth you ever wasted so much time on others before this came along to seduce you.
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