Plant/Krauss - Raising Sand // review [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-19-2007, 09:48 PM
This isn't the departure one might think it to be; Plant has always been a music afficionado, even back in his Zeppelin days, and he's always delved into different styles and taken chances throughout his solo career. This is an album Plant may well have done by himself.

However, this is a departure for Krauss, and its a welcome departure. But as odd as this pairing seems, it plain works. Krauss is a pure singer, and has the ability to harmonize with anyone, ala Emmylou Harris or Dolly Parton (see Mark Knopfler's All The Roadrunning w/ Emmylou). The vocal harmonizing on Raising Sand is, at times, uncanny.

Why this works so well, is that both singers are also vocal stylists who understand the nature of songs and respect writers, and they both resist the urge to over emote and show off (which neither one has ever done). There are many fine female singers who'd do a good job singing with Plant, and I'm sure there would be the temptation to exude overt sexuallity around a man of Plant's legendary status and reputation. But here, Krauss chooses a more organic approach, exuding an ethereal, quiet sensuality. She absolutely haunts the song Trampled Rose, and smolders nearly everywhere else. One could easily imagine her lending her voice to a Zep song like Rain Song or Battle Of Evermore.

As out of character as this is for Krauss, I hope this is a path she travels down again, whether with Plant, someone else, or by herself. As sensual as this record is at times it still comes across as very accomplished and dignified. I hope there's a follow-up.

12-19-2007, 10:06 PM
...they both resist the urge to over emote and show off (which neither one has ever done).

well now, I dunno...
I do agree that this is an outstanding album that outdoes what the expectations might lead one towards. The harmonizing btwn. the two is gorgeous but the Krauss-led songs really shine for me. I'm glad that this release avoids the 'Lanois-isms' that Emmylou hit with Wreckin' Ball...nice atmosphere that segues into, mmmm more atmosphere that tastes the same...blahse after a spin or two. So far, this is maintaining a unique quality of late night, roadhouse-realism that behooves this stuff well. Might help that I have this on vinyl and that vinyl-flavor suits this type of groove. Mos def. in my top ten of the year I'd say.

12-20-2007, 12:22 AM
This is an album Plant may well have done by himself.

Not without T-Bone Burnett, I wouldn't think. He's essential to the sound and feel of this record, providing that murky, minimal backdrop. It's a cohesive canvas throughout a surprising variety of song styles. It's as much a three way collaboration as anything. I wouldn't be surprised to see Plant work w/ Burnett again in some other arrangement although another Plant/Krauss project would be fine with me. Between Burnett's and Plant's common touchstones and Krauss's depth of talent they could easily do this again. It's impossible to hear this and not think of Plant and Sandy Denny on "The Battle of Evermore" because Krauss's voice is as pure as Denny's, maybe moreso.

I suspect this is the album Plant has wanted to make for years. He's always lauded Joni Mitchell and the appreciation for Sandy Denny in Fairport Convention was obvious. With all the West Coast folk rock and Bay Area he absorbed in the 60's and given Krauss's bluegrass chops, this could've been a lot more folky. But Plant and Burnett have pulled Krauss into a broader, more subtle and slightly experimental range, coming out somewhere in the area between Los Lobos and Madeleine Peyroux. In other words, it's great.

12-20-2007, 08:34 AM
But Plant and Burnett have pulled Krauss into a broader, more subtle and slightly experimental range.

Ever so slightly, but I like the direction. Krauss shows the same kinda restraint here that she normally does, but this type of material is new for her. Hambone mentioned a roadhouse feel, and I felt the same vibe, only this is a roadhouse Krauss has never visited before and Plant is the mysterious older Englishman; the air of temptation is palpable on some songs. Sure, she's sang country songs and blue-grass, and she has a great voice, but she always came acrossed as a tad too starched and WASPish for me. Not here though. I actually think the July/December thing twix her and Plant works to this album's advantage.