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While Robert Plant established his reputation as the hard rock singer of the 1970s with his banshee shriek, he has not tried to emulate that trademark in his solo career. His affection for roots music was evidenced back in the'80s with the Honeydrippers and it continues in 2007 on this collaboration with bluegrass superstar Alison Krauss. Together, with producer T Bone Burnett applying a restrained, tasteful patina, they explore a variety of roots styles, from the swamp blues of the opener, "Rich Woman," the pedal-steel fueled sorrow of "Killing the Blues" and quiet county desperation of Gene Clark's "Polly Come Home" to the lonesome despair of Townes Van Zandt's "Nothin'." The small band maintains an intimate room sound and a solid cohesion no matter which style they approach. (It's an all-star cast with guitarist Marc Ribot, pedal steel extraordinaire Greg Leisz among the faithful.) Krauss steps out with several fiddle spotlights, but the vocals are a shared experience. Along with first-rate songs from Tom Waits and the Everly Brothers, the album is a welcome surprise.
This album is absolutely one of the best I've heard. Being a fan of both Plant and Krauss, I was instantly interested in purchasing the album, completely unaware of how amazing it actually is! These are inspiring songs, and I only wish that everyone listened to it, because it's 100% worth it.
A warm, beautiful album that sounds timeless
What a fat, juicy analog sounding album reminiscent of a more patient musical era. It's as if each musician took their sweet, personal time performing every note on this record. Krauss shines as a songbird, and Plant holds himself back just behind the raw energy of Zeppelin madness at times, and then even seems quite happy laying down in the warmer, conversational lyrics that dominate this album. I can't get it out of my player. I am using it as a reference while mixing Aaron Strumpel and Karla Adolphe's new album under the band name: The Emporiums, coming early 2011.
The mis-match that worked perfectly...
On paper maybe it looked like a mis-match. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss? Really? Seriously? “Raising Sand” had to be one of the *best ever* examples of this. Here you have one of the coolest R&R lead singers, the swagger and soul of a Led Zep frontman dueting with the first lady of bluegrass? Really? Seriously? I thought that, especially when I started getting press tidbits about them really being in the studio. A few months later I received the advance and then I was floored. As many were so, so hoping for that Led Zeppelin reunion to take place I knew in my gut that this was far too good for Robert to just walk away from. It was too special and something we don’t see too often. I honestly can say that the 1st time I heard it, I thought, “this is indeed worthy of several Grammy’s.” Another thing that you notice about “Raising Sand” is how the pair's vocals complimented each other. Krauss’ angelic voice is balanced by the mature grain of Plant's almost whispered delivery. On songs like “Killing The Blues” or Gene Clark’s "Polly Come Home" they almost nudge up against each other, sounding like this pairing was really meant to be. And this, coming from a man reknown for beltin’ out "baybeeee, baybeee". The selection of songs proves to be just as inspired as the pairing. With material by the Everly’s ("Gone, Gone Gone"), Townes Van Zant ("Nothin’") and even one from Plant’s last collaboration with Jimmy Page ("Please Read The Letter" – completely stripped down from it’s original version) it would be hard to go that wrong, but the best of the lot has to be Krauss’ rendition of Tom Waits "Trampled Rose". Spellbinding doesn’t even come close to describing this. The album’s other main attraction was having T-Bone Burnett behind the board. His production added so much authenticity and his choice of musicians was dead on at every turn. Robert and Alison used their reputations to their advantage, pitting light against dark, innocence against experience, delicateness against grit. It’s a stunning, dark, collection that nails a dark, gothic, southern vibe. Hearing Krauss deliver the blues on tracks like "Rich Woman" is a revelation, while her overall playing on "Nothin'" is rawer than you’d ever expect to hear from such a pillar of the new bluegrass community. Raising Sand is proof that with raw material sometimes things really do add up to far more than the sum of their parts. It’s as spooky as it is soothing; it is as beautiful as it is unnerving. It’s superb, in every way.
Deacon Grooves Media / Inside MusiCast
Born: August 20, 1948 in Birmingham, England
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Robert Plant
||In the Mood||The Principle of Moments (Remastered)||5:22||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Big Log||The Principle of Moments (Remastered)||5:06||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Ship of Fools||Now and Zen (Remastered)||5:00||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Tall Cool One||Now and Zen (Remastered)||4:38||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Heaven Knows||Now and Zen (Remastered)||4:05||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)||Raising Sand||3:32||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Little By Little||Shaken 'N' Stirred (Remastered)||4:44||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Burning Down One Side||Pictures at Eleven (Remastered)||3:56||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||29 Palms||Fate of Nations (Remastered)||4:50||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Please Read the Letter||Raising Sand||5:53||$1.29||View In iTunes|