• Native of Connecticut; grew up in La Jolla, California. Lives in Nashville.
  • A graduate of Harvard University; has an MBA in finance from UCLA. For a short time, she worked as an investment broker with Smith-Barney.
  • First band: The Stringbenders (San Diego).
  • As a teenager, she played Dobro™ with Gold Rush, a group that included Stuart Duncan on fiddle and John Hickman on banjo.
  • 1981, recorded a duet album with Stuart Duncan called “Pre-Sequel” (Ridgerunner).
  • While at Harvard, she was a member of the band Northern Lights.
  • 1989-1991, played banjo and guitar with Alison Krauss and Union Station.
  • 1990, released solo album Simple Pleasures (Vanguard Records).
  • 1991, won IBMA award for Banjo Player of the Year.
  • 1992, toured with folk-rock performer Michelle Shocked.
  • With husband Garry West owns Compass Records.
  • 1996, formed The Alison Brown Quartet, an acoustic jazz ensemble featuring the banjo.
  • 1999, recorded and toured with the Americana band “New Grange” with Tim O’Brien, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall.
  • 2000, released bluegrass album Fair Weather featuring vocal performances by guests Vince Gill and Claire Lynch.
  • 2000, Alison’s “Girl’s Breakdown” (from her Fair Weather album) was used as the official wake up music for the crew of the U.S. Space Shuttle Destiny during their mission to the International Space Station.
  • 2001, won Grammy for Best Country Instrumental “Leaving Cottondale,” a duet with Bela Fleck (from her Fair Weather album).
  • 2002, gave the keynote address at the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Louisville.
  • 2014, received the 2014 USA Artists Berresford Fellowship, a $50,000 grant given to artists who have made significant contributions in their field of endeavor.
  • 2019, performed as a member of the “First Ladies of Bluegrass,” a group featuring the first women to win the IBMA Award in their instrument categories: Alison (banjo), Missy Raines (bass), Becky Buller (fiddle), Sierra Hull (mandolin) and Molly Tuttle (guitar).
  • 2019, was inducted into the American Banjo Hall of Fame.
Artist List

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