No Sorrow

ALISON Krauss and UNion Station at Massey Hall (178 Victoria), Friday (March 22). $32.50-$49.50. 416-872-4255. Rating: NNNNNpicking perfect accompaniment .


ALISON Krauss and UNion Station at Massey Hall (178 Victoria), Friday (March 22). $32.50-$49.50. 416-872-4255. Rating: NNNNN

picking perfect accompaniment behind bluegrass crossover queen Alison Krauss, Union Station guitarist Dan Tyminski weaves in his tasteful accents so seamlessly that his contributions are easy to overlook. Of course, he’s had a hard time maintaining a low profile since O Brother, Where Art Thou? hit theatres and people began to realize it was Tyminski’s voice they heard when they saw George Clooney moving his lips along to I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow in the film.

Yet even though the soundtrack has sold millions and many more people witnessed Tyminski accepting the country collaboration Grammy for I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow a couple of weeks ago, there are evidently still many more who haven’t yet connected the Union Station sideman with the popular tune.

“It’s so weird when real life imitates art,” chuckles Tyminski while peeling tomatoes at home in rural Virginia. “Each night when we start into that song, there are people who freak out just like in the movie and shout, “Oh my god, it’s the Soggy Bottom Boys!’ It’s pretty wild.

“But there has been a lot of strange stuff happening since the film came out. Winning a Grammy is not something I was counting on. I was freaking out at just the thought of getting to play this music at the Grammys, where nothing like bluegrass or old-time music ever gets showcased.

“Here we were in the dressing room — the Soggy Bottom Boys with Ralph Stanley, Steve Vai and Stevie Wonder. How amazing is that?”

In a way, Tyminski has George Clooney to thank for his star turn. Although the nephew of Rosemary Clooney thought he was capable of doing his own singing in the film, he didn’t quite cut it in the studio. At least he didn’t have the chops to meet the single-take demands of soundtrack producer T-Bone Burnett. But Tyminski certainly did, and delivered a career performance.

“If they wanted to take some time, they probably could’ve made George’s voice work, but that would’ve been against the basic principle of having pure, unfiltered music.

“The way T-Bone conceived it, there wasn’t any chance for overdubs. We all stood singing and playing around just one microphone without headphones or any references. So the music you hear is about as close as you can get to having the people on the disc singing in your living room.”

With the Alison Krauss and Union Station tour dates continuing right through to fall and a live recording set for before year’s end, Tyminski is putting plans for a new solo album on temporary hold. At the moment, the conscientious team player seems content to remain in Krauss’s shadow.

“I’m still adjusting to all the changes the film has brought. All of a sudden I’m a big deal in town. It’s fun, but I’m not used to being stopped at the grocery store or the gas station.

“If I was looking to launch a solo career, this would be an excellent platform. Although it’s wonderful to see the soundtrack be so successful, I don’t know that I’ll necessarily break off and do my own thing. I still love what I do with Alison Krauss and Union Station, and I believe we’ve yet to make our best music.”timp@nowtoronto.com

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