Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (from the album Raising Sand) - It was an unlikely duo, put together by a producer renowned for left-of-center projects. When Robert Plant and Alison Krauss released Raising Sand, the T-Bone Burnett-produced album immediately had critics tripping over their tongues, becoming fans once again for a pairing that got attention. T-Bone Burnett curated the tracks on Raising Sand, hearing the songs as perfect vehicles for the marriage of a Bluegrass Country star (Alison Krauss) and a rock god (Robert Plant). Released by Rounder Records on October 23, 2007, the album garnered top spots on the top music press charts for the 2007 year end. The album continued to grow and went on to receive 2009 Grammy awards (#51) for each of the five categories in which it was nominated. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss shared trophies for Album of the Year, Best Contemporary Folk – Americana Album, Record of the Year (“Please Read the Letter”), Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (“Rich Woman”), and Best Country collaboration (“Killing the Blues”). The track “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)” won Best Pop Collaboration for Grammy #50 in 2008. Sales in the first week of the Raising Sand release topped numbers for either artists’ solo releases.
The sound of Raising Sand is ethereal on a consistent basis. The genius of the collaboration is the virgin presence of both vocalists meeting in new territory. Both Alison Krauss and Robert Plant had forged careers pushing down doors and staying true to intention. The song choices are not out of character for either voice, and it is the combined texture of conjoined vocals over the psychedelic Americana production of T-Bone Burnett that raises for bar for Raising Sand. The rhythm line of “Rich Woman” wobbles on a determined path as Robert Plant and Alison Krauss lock into the notes, never missing a hit when the voices mix. A funereal march pounds down the ground for the angelic delivery of “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us”, field Blues notes silence rock arena power chords to whisper “Nothin’”, string note freckle the air of “Your Long Journey”, and a rubbery rock’n’roll rattle accompanies the musical predictions of “Fortune Teller”.
The songs that became Raising Sand came all styles and eras. The Everly Brothers catalog offered two cuts; “Stick with Me Baby” was recorded for the duo’s 1960 debut A Date with the Everly Brothers, and “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On” appeared on a 1964 self-titled release. Robert Plant originally recorded “Please Read the Letter” with his Led Zeppelin partner, Jimmy Page, on the pair’s 1998 Walking into Clarksdale release. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss gracefully honor decades of music as they nod to Tom Waits with “Trampled Rose”, and give two audio thumbs up to the former songman from The Byrds, Gene Clark, with his tunes “Through the Morning, Through the Night” and “Polly Come Home”.
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