Robert Plant said something akin to “when we go all out in England, we say ‘Raise the Roof.'” Therein, a phrase that must have inspired the title of his latest work with the lovely and talented Alison Krauss. They’ve done it before, and they’ve done it again. And yet, they keep doing it so well. This dynamic duo just released “Raise the Roof,” the second album they’ve collaborated on since their 2007 album.
“Raising Sands” was the first genius product from these two. Robert Plant journeyed to Nashville to infuse his solo career with the old country ways. I can think of no better partner for him to have found in his sojourn that the lovely and honey-toned Alison Krauss. I realize that there were naysayers, but you know what they say about naysayers. (Or do, rather, I as “thumb my nose at you”–not you–them.)
These naysayers were crying for a Led Zeppelin reunion and threw heavy criticism at Plant when he explored this new venue, and I imagine, for him, it must have been obnoxious to hear so much negativity. For true fans of Plant, however, this maneuver into a new world of sound was a refreshing and unique turn. I’m sure it’s not the first time he faced criticism. And listen, I love, absolutely love, Led Zeppelin. But I also adore Plant and Krauss’s solo collaborations. Yes, they’re mellow, yes they are infused with “old country blues” as I like to call it.
True fans know that when their favorite artist dares to be different, they follow suit with an open mind. No, you don’t have to love it, but you can certainly support it. As an avid Pearl Jam fan, I’m sure that Eddie Vedder faced criticisms with his 2011 ukulele album, Ukulele Songs. I, on the other hand, a never-failing optimist, dove right in and even considered playing ukulele to keep up with his latest passion. And maybe that comparison is a bit different from an English rocker gone country–but come on, guys, he did it so well.
I also can’t say enough about Alison Krauss and her amazing talent, but you know that. You don’t have to care for the genre to agree with me that she has the voice of an angel. Perhaps her most well-known track is, “When You Say Nothing At All.” Now pair her voice with Robert’s playful and deep tenor, and boom! you’ve got magic. Not only the delicious blend of vocals, however, but we listeners are treated to a funky interplay of attitude and roleplay between the two of them. They make the old country lyrics come alive between them as you listen and watch–either or both–the two of them dance and sing and interact with one another. It is truly a performance. And speaking of performance, while money is tight, I plan to rob my nest egg to see them on their tour.
I highly recommend you “Raise the Roof” and give it a listen–or twelve. It’ll be like “Cashmere” to your ears.
Be well and rock on,