Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RAISING SAND by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Sometimes an album comes along that is so different, so unique and so darn special that it keeps you coming back for another listen, over and over. This is the one.

The first thing that sets it apart is the unexpected collaboration. He's a 59 year old heavy metal pioneer who was one of the first great archetypal rock stars. She's a 36 year old bluegrass artist who sings, writes, plays fiddle and produces.

Together, they've made a record that spans decades and moods and never turns out like you expect, and yet, it makes so much sense that I find myself wondering why this didn't happen sooner!

The most important thing for my recording engineer husband is that THIS RECORD SOUNDS SO GOOD. You can thank T Bone Burnett for that. The band is solid and everything sounds right. This record has passed the following tests:
-the Jethro test
-the Jetta test
-the dining room test
-the iPod test

I'm not worried about the Grandma test...when I told my mom about this record she brightened up and said, "Oh. I like Robert Plant." I tried not to show it but I was kinda floored. I had no idea! After twenty years of me going on and on about this guy, and now she fesses up!

As for the Papa test...My ol man LOVES harmonies. He loves to sing it and listen to it. We played a couple of songs for him, resulting in a smile and "Mm hmm!" which is the seal of approval from this guy.

Seriously, if you appreciate harmony, this is it. Plant has stated in interviews that Krauss taught him how to sing.


He hadn't ever sung harmony with another singer. He'd recorded a part above his own melody part but this was very different.

And does he ever sound good. He's dropped the rock god persona, and just sings beautifully. As for Alison Krauss, I have never heard her sound anything but gorgeous and she does not disappoint.

It's quite spine tingling how well their voices work together.

What I really love is that you are never really sure what time or era this all takes place in. There's something old sounding about it, evoking visions of sunlight streaming into a dusty room where two musicians pluck strings and sing...like you aren't even supposed to be there to hear it. But it's also modern- polished, perfected, professional.

It's not bluegrass...it's not rock...it's not country.


Unexpected? Awesome.

Bottom line, what counts more than anything else in music, the SONGS are excellent.

With this glowing review you'd think I knew somebody who worked on it. I don't. However, I do know somebody who wishes he'd had a chance to be a part of this record!


tj said...

...Yeah, ask your mom if she remembers Robert Plant in lace-up low-rise black leather pants? Girl, I do! He's just plain good - always has been, always will be... :o)

...Great review!


Josie said...

Ah, I so totally agree with you about this album. It is refreshing and intriguing... with harmonies that are spine-tingling.