Ram­blin’ man Robert Plant putting down roots in U.K.

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Chris Tal­bott

NASHVILLE — Robert Plant has been a life­long ram­bler with almost no in­ter­est in re­turn­ing home to Great Bri­tain. Th­ese days, though, he’s as snug as a hob­bit in his hole in his na­tive coun­try after re­turn­ing to record his lat­est al­bum, and he doesn’t plan on chang­ing his home base soon. “I’m back,” Plant said in a re­cent phone in­ter­view from his home along the Welsh bor­der. “My dog is curled up in the sun­light here in the late af­ter­noon and it’s a beau­ti­ful day. It’s a beau­ti­ful place to be. All the flow­ers are at max­i­mum full boost.” Plant is also re­turn­ing to mu­si­cal ter­ri­tory he long ago left be­hind for the songs on Lul­laby and… the Cease­less Roar, his ninth solo stu­dio al­bum. It’s his first work in years that in­cludes ma­te­rial he mostly wrote. The 66-year-old for­mer Led Zep­pelin front­man has been in­ter­pret­ing the Amer­i­can Song­book for decades to great ef­fect, roam­ing the back roads of Mis­sis­sippi, Ten­nessee and Texas in an end­less quest, com­pelled, he said, by his DNA. Then some­thing changed in his in­ter­nal chem­istry, and he felt drawn home: “In a way, iron­i­cally, be­ing a guy who sang in Led Zep­pelin and stuff, I ac­tu­ally just re­turned to the misty moun­tains, to be hon­est.” It wasn’t the only life change. He also split with singer-song­writer Patty Grif­fin, his girl­friend of sev­eral years. “Life goes on, and I have a huge and deep af­fec­tion for Patty,” Plant said. “I just had to come back.” You’ll hear Plant obliquely ad­dress his per­sonal life on the al­bum in songs like Embrace Another Fall, which he says “is about the re­gret of turn­ing around.” He also re­con­nects with his new/old sur­round­ings. “The Welsh, you see, have a to­tally dif­fer­ent cul­ture,” Plant said of a his­tory he was in­tro­duced to as a child on va­ca­tion. “They’re quite lovely play­ers. But once upon a time, their sto­ries were way dif­fer­ent than the An­glo-Saxon sto­ries. There were sto­ries of changelings and all this stuff that’s in­spired by the land­scape. It’s there in this cur­rent record, too. I’m here and my feet, my body, my en­ergy, it goes deep into the ground.” He signed up the Sen­sa­tional Space Shifters, a band that con­sists of long­time col­lab­o­ra­tors and the Gam­bian per­former Juldeh Ca­mara, for the al­bum. They spent 15 months to­gether on the road, then hit the stu­dio. The re­sult is am­bi­tious and strik­ingly dif­fer­ent, and Plant calls the re­sults “a tri­umph.”

CHRIS PIZZELLO/IN­VI­SION

Co­me­dian Kathy Grif­fin laments the fact that it’s been 27 years since a fe­male has hosted a late-night talk show.

JOEL RYAN/IN­VI­SION

Robert Plant never imag­ined he’d re­turn to Great Bri­tain.

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