Judge Ryan Keefer never traveled more than 100 miles for bluegrass...well, not the musical variety anyways.
Laid back music with a quietly reputable cast of guest stars—count me in!
This is going to border on heresy I'm sure, but aside from her work on O Brother, Where Art Thou? I wasn't really all that familiar with Alison Krauss and her supporting band Union Station. But upon further review, holy crap, she's been doing this music thing for quite awhile! Rounder Records, who released this small performance video shot in studio, has been releasing Krauss' music for over two decades now. It was her movie work which helped shine a light not only on bluegrass music in general, but on her specifically. Her voice is distinctive across the musical landscape, and her unique covers of songs by the Beatles, Bad Company, and the Allman Brothers helped give bluegrass a new, fresh look, standing as the rather attractive face of bluegrass music today.
This particular performance was filmed at Nashville's Tracking Room studio and aired on television as a promotional tie-in to Krauss' album, which was also titled "A Hundred Miles or More." The playlist is as follows:
• "You're Just a Country Boy"
Now of course, this feature includes performances of songs from the album, but it is not the entire album on video. A duet of Waite's 1984 hit "Missing You" is one of the songs not included for this broadcast, and it's regrettable, because in the few seconds that was shown of it (to introduce "Lay Down Beside Me") it sounded pretty good. Aside from the songs, this feature also includes interviews with the guest musicians and their opinions of Krauss and the reasons for working with her now on this album. Krauss talks about the album, while the band talks about working with Krauss. It sounds like she is as easygoing as her outward persona seems to be.
If there's a couple things that aren't pleasant about this feature, it's the fact that it was done strictly for television, and is presented as such. A PBS-produced broadcast would have gotten at least a widescreen presentation and/or six-channel surround sound with it, but as it stands, the Great American Country channel (or GAC) gives the album a two-channel stereo soundtrack on television and presents it in full frame. Ugh, you'd think they could've sprung for more. But when you're GAC, I guess you're on the cheap.
Ultimately, A Hundred Miles or More is decent enough, but several things go against recommending purchase, or even rental—this doesn't cover all of the material from the album, and the GAC aired this already. So, if you like Krauss and Union Station, you probably have already seen this and burned it onto a blank disc. If you haven't, you're probably content with just listening to Krauss on CD, mp3 or whatever, and this release doesn't really give you a compelling reason to look into it further.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Rounder Records
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