Those who find the pairing of '70s rock god Robert Plant with contemporary bluegrass queen Alison Krauss unlikely have probably not been paying attention to Plant's latter-day work, which is full of intimate, acoustic-flavored balladry. While the organic-sounding, low-key Plant/Krauss collaboration, RAISING SAND, is a far cry from Led Zeppelin's stadium rock, it offers up some hauntingly moody textures that should appeal to "Battle of Evermore" admirers.
Consisting mostly of sagely chosen cover tunes, the album finds Plant and Krauss bringing their warm-but-eerie harmonies to everything from Townes Van Zandt's nihilistic folk poetry ("Nothin'") to the crumbled beauty of latter-day Tom Waits ("Trampled Rose"). Determined not to rest on their laurels or cater to expectations, the 59-year-old icon and his junior partner craft a subtle and intriguing sound built on their shared love of folk forms and gift for interpretation, bringing to light esoteric gems by late Byrds visionary Gene Clark and the Everly Brothers along the way as well.
Rolling Stone (p.85) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Skilled and inspired....[With] relaxed, smoky harmonies and reverbed midtempo rockabilly..."
Rolling Stone (p.112) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "They harmonize with natural worry and warmth against a midnight Mississippi chill..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.65) - "They ultimately meet in a roots-rock commonwealth....[E]xercises in sublime harmony..." -- Grade: A-
Uncut (p.115) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "The partners' close harmonies are especially ravishing -- intimate as Gram & Emmylou on Gene Clark's 'Through The Morning, Through The Night'..."
Down Beat (p.62) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Doc Watson's 'Your Long Journey' finds Plant and Krauss attaining a state of grace, their shared spiritual strength interlocked with sorrow over a loved one's death."
Dirty Linen (p.56) - "[O]ne listen to these songs, and you'll quickly appreciate how they -- and Burnett and the other musicians -- effortlessly blended different genres into one gorgeous stew of pop music..."
No Depression (p.92) - "Their harmonies couldn't be more fetching on 'Killing The Blues'....The emotional landscape of RAISING SAND stretches far and wide."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.90) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The pair drift in an out of the tracks, supplementing each other with subtlety and charm on a stunning set..."