Is there a more fruitful intersection of two established solo identities than Robert Plant and Alison Krauss? Usually, pairings begin in that way and end in a collision of egos, rather than beginning twenty, thirty, or forty years into individual careers. Supergroups like CSNY are a thing of the past, but super duos never caught on in the same joining-of-the-titans way. In this post, you will read about Robert Plant and Alison Krauss renew their collaboration and concert reviews.
Apparently, there will never be enough A-listers prepared to risk the worst possible outcome for a leading creative force—a tie—by participating in a continuous creative predicament.
However, Plant and Krauss are the anomalies that prove the rule. And here, like Brigadoon, they are bound to reappear every fourteen years or so, as they did on Thursday at the Greek in Los Angeles, making their first appearance at the venue since their Grammy royal status in 2008.
Everyone should be able to schedule their reminders for the next event for a date far closer to now than 2036. In the summer of 2019, for example, would work just great. In some cases, however, it is the very oddness of the occasion that contributes to the magic. Occasionally, it seems like these two were meant to be together. Thursday night’s performance was both familiar and refreshing, like Halley’s comet.
Their 2007 album “Raising Sand,” which they released as a duo, won them six Grammys, including album and single of the year. Their sophomore album, “Raise the Roof,” released last October, felt very much like the belated sequel it was. Given how wonderfully strange it was that a record as rich, delicate, and unusual as the first took off the way it did, to become the coffee table CD of its day, the newer album has not been in any danger of reaching those same pop-culture-phenomenon heights, and no one expected it to.
However, the second album still managed to captivate listeners, as it was produced by T Bone Burnett and featured the majority of the same musicians as the first. These were the same men who, fourteen years prior, had looked to be building their own new musical language out of ancient grains.
However, the touring unit is not the same this time around, at least in terms of leadership, which may have caused some of the fans who pay attention to such things to worry that they wouldn’t be getting anything like the Broadway-road-show version of what they got 15 years ago. Burnett, who is not a fan of travelling, is not participating as band leader and guitarist this time around.
Plant, at least, has made it abundantly apparent in his band introductions who is at the top of the hierarchy, so it’s not like McPherson has become a favourite child yet or is likely to. The former Led Zeppelin leader once identified Burnett’s regular drummer Jay Bellerose as “my favourite musician in the world,” and it’s not hard to see why someone who has worked with some of the greatest guitar players of all time may feel this way.
Bellerose is the epitome of the phrase “on the beat, and offbeat”; he rarely uses sticks when mallets or brushes are available, and he almost never plays a rhythm that the audience has heard before. He’s the linguist responsible for giving Plant and Krauss’ music the air of having uncovered a new language.
But he’s not trying to steal the show from the other well-known veterans in the band, like Stuart Duncan (who plays second fiddle, second guitar, first mandolin, and dobro) and Dennis Crouch (whom Robert Plant has called “the king of the stand-up bass”) and Viktor Krauss (the lead singer’s brother), who plays the extremely sparse keyboard parts that are barely noticeable.
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