The pairing of former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and country/bluegrass star Alison Krauss may seem illogical at first, but their collaborative album, Raising Sand, demonstrates that the two work in a wonderfully complementary way, creating a sound that is neither the larger-than-life rock of Zeppelin nor the homey country of Krauss and her usual backing band Union Station.
The result does sound closer to Plant’s work than Krauss’, though, with only subtle hints of bluegrass and country in most of the songs—some subdued pedal steel here, a bit of plaintive banjo there. Krauss’ exemplary fiddle work only shows up on three tracks, but that rarity gives it an extra power when it intrudes on the murky, ethereal, otherworldly sound of the music.
Producer T Bone Burnett gives the songs—mostly old blues, folk and R&B numbers—a ghostly feel, with minimalist percussion, a loose, ragged guitar sound and the haunting intertwining of Plant and Krauss’ voices. There’s a sense of the timeless and the ancient here that goes back to the Celtic influences of certain Led Zeppelin songs, but Raising Sand stands wholly on its own as a unique and potent creation.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss