Alison Krauss will bring her achingly sweet fiddle and her pure haunting voice to the Santa Barbara Bowl at 7 p.m. Friday.

You're unlikely to catch Alison Krauss without her fiddle

You’re unlikely to catch Alison Krauss without her fiddle.

She will be backed by her longtime collaborators Union Station — Larry Atamanuik, drums and percussion; Barry Bales, bass and harmony vocals; Ron Block, guitar, banjo and harmony vocals; Dan Tyminski, guitar, mandolin and lead vocals; and featuring Jerry Douglas, dobro and harmony vocals — as a part of their new nationwide tour of 50-plus cities, their first together in a number of years.

Of course, the tour will also highlight the April 12 release of their new album, Paper Airplane, their first together since 2004’s Lonely Runs Both Ways.

Krauss began winning local fiddle contests when she was 10 years old. She made her first recordings at 14. She was 16 when she released her first solo album, 18 when she and Union Station put out their first album as a band. Her collaborations with Robert Plant and many other country and/or rock musicians, as well as her high-profile work on movie soundtracks, have made her famous and beloved in every branch of American popular music.

There is no music scene more obsessed with technical proficiency than bluegrass, and if you can impress that scene when you are 10, then it’s hard to imagine any insurmountable career obstacles popping up later on — especially if you are blond, beautiful and have a great voice. At first, the fiddle was her main thing, with singing secondary. As her style has evolved, absorbing influences and repertoires with startling ease, her singing has become more and more important, though you are still unlikely to catch her without her fiddle — or viola.

With 26 solo and/or group Grammies earned so far, Krauss is clearly a force to be reckoned with in American music, but it is still the playing and the singing — whether on stage or in the studio — that matter most.

Tickets to Krauss range from $37.50 to $67.50 and can be purchased from the Bowl box office at 1122 N. Milpas St., by phone at 805.962.7411 or online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at