Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
A collaboration between Robert Plant and American bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, Raising Sand finds the pair covering songs by various artists, of which Tom Waits and Gene Clark are probably the least obscure. Or most likely to be heard of by those under - oh - fifty. I'm not going to pretend I know much about either Plant (bar a cursory education in Led Zeppelin) or Krauss (I had to look up "bluegrass" on Wikipedia); however, this album reeks of good old-fashioned craftsmanship.
Plant and the enchantingly-voiced Krauss take in their stride material ranging through blues, country, folk and rock 'n' roll, both duetting and singing alone. They're backed by a number of renowned musicians, while the record was produced by T-Bone Burnett (writer of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack). It would surely take a cold heart not to be melted by the steel guitar on Killing The Blues, the traditionally arranged Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us or the slow waltz of Through the Morning, Through the Night.
If those tracks are made for listening to in front of an open fire, the sparser Polly Come Home and Trampled Rose suggest a long wander in the wilderness. More up tempo are country toe-tapper Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson and the gently rockin' Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On), perhaps the most contemporary sounding song here.
But mainly Raising Sand is a cosy album; rich in detail, expertly played and drawing on America's musical history. Pour yourself a bourbon, pull on your slippers, cuddle up to your "darling" and enjoy.
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