ROOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

Rais­ing Sand Robert Plant and Alison Krauss UMA THE teaming of Led Zep’s front­man with Amer­ica’s coun­try- blue­grass queen doesn’t read like a match made in roots- rock heaven, but it sounds like it. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss meld exquisitely on th­ese 13 songs. Pro­ducer T- Bone Bur­nett can take great credit, not only for ex­tract­ing won­der­ful per­for­mances from the two singers but for choos­ing and ar­rang­ing a batch of songs to suit them. It’s like Daniel Lanois’s work on Em­my­lou Har­ris’s Wreck­ing Ball , with Bur­nett con­struct­ing am­bi­ent, warm tex­tures ( par­tic­u­larly from the gui­tars, played by him and Marc Ri­bot) around the vo­cals. Sur­pris­ingly, it’s of­ten Krauss who pushes her­self, with Plant act­ing as a sub­tle, del­i­cate foil. The treat­ment of the Everly Brothers’ rocker Gone Gone Gone ( Done Moved On) is a prime ex­am­ple, as is Krauss’s read­ing of Sam Phillips’s Sis­ter Rosetta Goes Be­fore Us . Plant takes com­mand on the mourn­ful Please Read the Let­ter , a song he co- wrote, and on the shim­mer­ing Gene Clark bal­lad Polly Come Home. How­ever, the album’s unerring charm comes from the duo’s se­duc­tion of the mi­cro­phone, with voices that are three parts honey to one part gin. Sub­lime.

Iain Shed­den

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