There has been, over the last months, much more chatter about Robert Plant’s private affairs with Patty Griffin than anything they’ve done in the studio. “Ohio,” from Griffin’s upcoming release American Kid, changes that.
Plant started it, of course, saying he’d eloped with his bandmate in the Buddy Miller-produced Band of Joy. Then, taking it back. Then going on tour together again, this time as the Sensational Shape Shifters. Then, maybe wearing wedding bands in some photos. And so on.
What, you know, about some music?
Griffin’s new Memphis-recorded album, due May 7, 2013 from New West Records, in fact features three tracks with Plant, two of which were previewed last December during a joint performance at an Austin benefit. Her crack band includes the Dickinson siblings, Cody and Luther, of the North Mississippi All Stars — who opened for the Band of Joy on its most recent tour.
Together, they create a lonesome intrigue, closer to a real blues than anything Plant once aped early on with Led Zeppelin, but at the same time go deeper into the holler — like a canny update of Raising Sand, his celebrated bluegrass-inflected collaboration with Alison Krauss. And far more emotionally connected, perhaps no surprise considering the skin Plant apparently has (or not!) in this particular game.
American Kid was produced by Craig Ross, who has previously worked as a guitarist with Lisa Germano, violinist in the 1980s-era John Mellencamp band. Ross also produced 2004′s Impossible Dream for Griffin.