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Alison Krauss at the DeSoto Civic Center Saturday

Bill Monroe invented bluegrass, but the genre's modern standard-bearer is probably Alison Krauss, a onetime child prodigy from Illinois (at 12 she was named "Most Promising Fiddle Player in the Midwest"), whose personal journey from the folk-festival circuit to latte-sipping soundtrack mirrors the genres itself.

You get a sense of this journey by juxtaposing Krauss' 2007 solo compilation A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection with its predecessor, 1995's singer-and-band Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection. The pleasantly frumpy woman with the matronly dress and Roseanne-worthy hairdo that adorns the cover of Now That I've Found You has been replaced on A Hundred Miles or More by a slim, stylish woman with an expensive haircut, walking the kind of beach hundreds of miles from her native Decatur. A dozen years later, Krauss looks a dozen years younger. The personal makeover and explosion of popularity that greeted Krauss in the wake of duel triumphs — the entirely unexpected commercial success of Now That I've Found You and her inclusion on the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? — seem to have done wonders for her personally.

But what about the music? Well, A Hundred Miles or More has considerably more gauzy pop than Now That I've Found You (which had none). The earlier record feels like a cultural touchstone (and flawless listen) more than a decade later. The new one is merely a solid, if uneven, showcase for one of the finest voices in any sphere of pop music. Which is what Krauss is.

Krauss will, happily, be joined by her band, Union Station, at the DeSoto Civic Center on Saturday, June 16th. Tickets are $38 and $46.50. Showtime is 8 p.m.

— Chris Herrington

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