12 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Riding the wave of renewed artistic vitality that came with his collaboration with Alison Krauss on Raising Sand, Robert Plant returns with a solid solo album that’s named after the band he led before he joined Led Zeppelin. Just as Led Zeppelin’s III brought the band’s folk interests to the surface, Band of Joy is a clear moment of Plant playing the music he dearly loves. Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance” is sent into the U.K.’s Black Country. Richard Thompson’s “House of Cards” is given an elegant Thompson-like treatment. “Silver Rider” and “Monkey” from Minnesota slo-core veterans Low are given a sweet, majestic interpretation. Townes Van Zandt’s “Harm’s Swift Way” was the last song he ever finished writing and Plant, with Patty Griffin harmonizing, brings its wondrous sorrow to a heart-stirring finale. Buddy Miller’s co-production is subtle and unobtrusive, catering to the many styles featured here. While much has been made of Plant’s vocal power, his vocal timing and phrasing is ever bit as important. The traditional, “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” is one ominous tune, as heavy as anything from his former band.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Riding the wave of renewed artistic vitality that came with his collaboration with Alison Krauss on Raising Sand, Robert Plant returns with a solid solo album that’s named after the band he led before he joined Led Zeppelin. Just as Led Zeppelin’s III brought the band’s folk interests to the surface, Band of Joy is a clear moment of Plant playing the music he dearly loves. Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance” is sent into the U.K.’s Black Country. Richard Thompson’s “House of Cards” is given an elegant Thompson-like treatment. “Silver Rider” and “Monkey” from Minnesota slo-core veterans Low are given a sweet, majestic interpretation. Townes Van Zandt’s “Harm’s Swift Way” was the last song he ever finished writing and Plant, with Patty Griffin harmonizing, brings its wondrous sorrow to a heart-stirring finale. Buddy Miller’s co-production is subtle and unobtrusive, catering to the many styles featured here. While much has been made of Plant’s vocal power, his vocal timing and phrasing is ever bit as important. The traditional, “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” is one ominous tune, as heavy as anything from his former band.

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About Robert Plant

As Led Zeppelin’s longhaired, bare-chested frontman, Robert Plant was the archetypical rock god. Born in Staffordshire, England, and raised on Delta blues, Plant—as a writer and singer, both with Zep and in his ongoing solo career—braided the visceral impact of hard rock with Eastern classical music, Celtic folk, and mysticism, reshaping rock music not as a vehicle for youth culture, but for myth. A powerful singer who once said he wanted his voice to cut like a tenor sax, Plant also helped define the modern rock vocal—wailing, penetrative—and influenced just about anyone who ever tried to keep rank with an electric guitar, from Jack White and Eddie Vedder to Axl Rose and Chris Cornell. His best '70s turns with Zeppelin remain immortal—has any singer turned the blues inside out the way Plant does on “Black Dog”? But just as interesting are muse-following moments like 1988’s “Tall Cool One,” in which he keeps pace with New Wave, or 2007’s Grammy-winning collaboration with folk singer Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, which revealed a plainspokenness barely hinted at with Zeppelin. Speaking to Musician in 1990, Plant joked that he’d never tried to copy anyone with his voice: “It just developed, until it became the girlish whine that it is today.”

HOMETOWN
Birmingham, England
GENRE
Rock
BORN
August 20, 1948

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