Blonde on Blonde?
A handful of months ago, I heard about a Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album that was supposedly in the can. I remember being only slightly incredulous — Plant, after all, had already drifted into the Americana deep end on his last solo album Mighty Re-Arranger. (Of course, there was also the odd Arabesque number.)
I don’t imagine too many Zep fans and modern rockers heard that one, but it was actually pretty good. By that time (2005), Plant had given up on high pitched squealing — which he frankly hasn’t been capable of since 1978 — in favor of a mature baritone. This new "old" voice sounded pleasingly world-weary, but also betrayed a smidgen of the old mischievousness.
So what about this Alison Krauss thing? Could the queen of soft-scrubbed bluegrass and the Golden God possibly make music worth listening to?
Yeah, as it turns out. You just gotta be willing to give in to your inner middle-aged person.
The duo’s new album, Raising Sand, is absolutely fucking lovely. T-Bone Burnett‘s sepia-toned production is certainly NPR-bait, but it sure do sound purdy. Although I’m not much for the ‘grass, Krauss could sing me the phone book and I’d swoon.
But Plant is the real (re)discovery. I had assumed that his upper register had gone the way of his turquoise jewelry and too-tight dungarees. Actually, he sings the majority of these tunes in a comfortable tenor. And I mean comfortable. I haven’t heard Plant sound so relaxed and confident in years. And it’s nice to hear that long-submerged Everly Brothers influence bubbling up.
I went back and forth about posting a song, ’cause Rounder (say isn’t that Ween‘s label?) is still hip on DRM. Even more reason to post this MP3, I guess. Lawyers, my e-mail is at the top left of your screen.
Later. . .
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