Heartache, sorrow, loss, lament — for Alison Krauss, that's a real good day. No singer does achey sadness with more understated expression than the...

Share story

Heartache, sorrow, loss, lament — for Alison Krauss, that’s a real good day. No singer does achey sadness with more understated expression than the honey-throated bluegrass phenom.

She and her longtime band, Union Station, delivered a country buffet of terrific instrumentals, breakdowns, solos, harmonies and lots of homey jokes. But the highlights were the sad tunes that have always showcased Krauss’ breathy soprano.

Among them: “Goodbye Is All We Have,” “My Poor Old Heart,” and the melodic and utterly devastating “Gravity,” all from her latest album, “Lonely Runs Both Ways”; her ’90s hit “Every Time You Say Goodbye” and “Forget About It.”

Even amid all the lyrical pain, though, Krauss was at ease and quite funny, teasing her band members and telling long yarns about songs or relationships. She confessed to wandering into a Nashville used-record store and finding a sad-sounding old Michael McDonald song on an ancient album. She sang the song “It Don’t Matter Now” (which really is tragic), but not before saying how giddy she felt at finding out just how depressing the song was: “Because we don’t want anybody listening to us feeling good!”

Well, the songs may be sad, but the concertgoers Wednesday felt great anyway. The musicianship is so polished as to be uplifting — with both Krauss’ vocals and fiddling buoying the proceedings.

Band members including Dobro master Jerry Douglas, who did some slithery solos mid-show, and guitarist/mandolinist Dan Tyminski shared time in the spotlight. Krauss revealed that Tyminski, known for being George Clooney’s voice double in the Coen brothers’ film “O Brother Where Art Thou,” played another crucial role in that film: “He was George’s butt double, too!”

And then they went right into another sweet, sad song.

Anne Hurley: ahurley@seattletimes.com