By Landon James
by Robert Plant
and Allison Krauss (2007)
One might say Robert Plant, now 60 years old, is over the hill and his voice can prove it. However, “Raising Sand,” his latest endeavor with bluegrass-country singer/fiddle player Alison Krauss, is a powerful and solid record that just may debunk any rumor of decay in Plant’s voice.
The album starts off with “Rich Woman,” a bluesy jazzy mix that sounds like the backup band at the local pub’s poetry open mic night. The drums drive the song on the cymbals as a crunchy guitar echoes in the background. Plant delivers a mellow vocal and you can tell he is not using the full power and potential of his roar.
The album then takes a turn for the soft side until “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On).” Plant and Krauss continue to complement each other in their harmonies; however, Plant finally lets loose and you hear a bit of the tortured emotion and orgasmic inflection of a younger Plant. I felt as if I was listening to the sex section of “Dazed and Confused” at times.
From there, Krauss takes the lead into her specialty with “Through the Morning, Through the Night,” a slow country love song. Krauss sounds like Reba Macintyre as she effortlessly glides through. The mix between hard and soft, Plant and Krauss, on this album is astonishing and they make the blend work so well. This song is a prime example.
“Stick With Me Baby” is the next track that stood out to me. Somber and melodic, Plant and Krauss unite heartstrings and sing as lovers to each other. This is my personal favorite of the album. Plant’s voice is as golden as ever and the harmonies on this particular song are amongst the best of the entire album.
The album then heats up and hits the road with the fast-driving, toe-tapping, boogie-breaker “Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson.” Krauss lets all her blues hang out and sings with the conviction and style of Aretha Franklin. The howling guitar solo will force you to jump out of your seat and cut a rug with someone, unless you don’t have any legs.
Other tracks to note on this album are “Nothin,” a creepy and haunting song done vocally and instrumentally with Krauss on fiddle. Also, “Your Long Journey,” very similar to Krauss’ “Down To the River to Pray,” finishes the album on a rather sanctified and pure note that will leave you satisfied and grateful for all of what you had just listened to.
Let me tell you right now, if you are expecting Led Zeppelin, do not buy this album. Plant and Krauss combine to form a unique sound. The album is a mix of light and dark, soft and heavy, good and great. The only negatives of this album may be that Plant never really lets loose his voice; however, he shows amazing control and vocal range. Of five screaming Robert Plant heads I give “Raising Sand” four screaming Robert Plant heads.