TAS Audiophile Demo Disc
Half-Speed Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System
Featured in Michael Fremer’s Heavy Rotation in the July 2004 Issue of Stereophile
Available for the very first time on vinyl. This is the best AKUS album to date. (AKUS is the band’s own acronym for Alison Krauss & Union Station). The best songs, the best playing, the best singing and the best sound! This must have 2-LP set gets more addictive with every play. Call it bluegrass or call it acoustic pop, either way Alison Krauss and Union Station have created an incredible montage of music. As usual, it is Alison’s beautiful vocals that gives it that “high, lonesome sound.”
“Led by ethereal songbird/fiddler Krauss, the natural acoustics and intricate harmonies of the bluegrass, roots, and mountain songbook don’t get much better treatment than on this disc.”
-Neil Gader, TAS Guide to Audiophile Demo Disc pick, Spring 2011, Buyer’s Guide, pg. 28
There are thirteen vocal songs and one instrumental on this two-record set. Krauss is the lead vocalist on eight of the songs and Union Station members share the other lead vocals. The virtuoso musicians comprising the group are Barry Bales (acoustic bass), Ron Block (banjo, guitar), Adam Steffey (mandolin), and Dan Tyminski (guitar). Of course Krauss started her career as a violinist (fiddler to the bluegrass world) and she doesn’t leave that instrument out either. Due to the unmatched resolution of the MFSL Ultra Analog Cutting System, all the acoustic instruments and voices on the record are reproduced with an exceptional sense of space and clarity.
The tunes are mostly new material and alternate from bluegrass to acoustic pop. The standouts on the album are Alison’s numbers: “It Doesn’t Matter,” “Looking in the Eyes of Love,” and the gospel “There is a Reason.” These are all quiet, reflective pieces with the haunting, almost angelic quality of Krauss’ voice demonstrated to its fullest. The harmony singing on every cut shows off the vocal prowess of the entire ensemble. The title track in particular stands out for its use of harmony and incredible accurate presentation of acoustic instruments. The male vocalists are superb in their own right and each of the band members has the spotlight somewhere on the album. As we’ve all come to expect, the quality of this original Rounder recording is top notch.
There is something that just sounds “right” hearing this true American acoustic music reproduced on vinyl and we encourage you to hear this fabulous album for yourself. This is a tremendously enjoyable album with appeal to all those who enjoy beautiful singing and tremendous acoustic musicianship.
ID: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab – MFSL 2-276