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Biography

  • Born

    7 August 1962 (age 57)

  • Born In

    Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, United States

Alison Brown (born in Hartford, Connecticut, on 7 August 1962) is an American banjo player, guitarist, composer, and producer. She has won and has been nominated for several Grammy awards. As well as solo recordings, Brown has recorded as Alison Brown & Stuart Duncan, led the Alison Brown Quartet, and, from 1987–1991, been a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station.

Brown learned to play guitar at eight and banjo at ten. When she was twelve, she met fiddler Stuart Duncan. In the summer of 1978, Brown traveled across the country with Duncan and his father, playing festivals and contests. She won first place at the Canadian National Banjo Championship, which helped her land a one-night gig at the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1987, Alison Krauss asked Brown to join her band, Union Station. Brown spent three years with Krauss. In 1990, she moved to Tennessee, and was named International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year in 1991.

In 1992, Brown became the band leader for Michelle Shocked. This experience led Brown to merge bluegrass with jazz and folk idioms, in a manner similar to those of Béla Fleck and David Grisman.

In the early 1990s, Brown and her husband, bass player Garry West, started their own record label, Small World Music. This company eventually led to the launch of Compass Records in 1995.

In the mid 1990s, Brown began to lead the Alison Brown Quartet.

In 2001, in collaboration with Béla Fleck, Brown won the Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for her song "Leaving Cottondale" from her album Fair Weather. She participated in Alison Krauss's Grammy-winning album I've Got That Old Feeling, and received a Grammy nomination for her own recording, Simple Pleasures (1990).

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