Even today, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand confounds expectations

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When Raising Sand arrived on October 23, 2007, it was credited to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – but producer T Bone Burnett deserved a co-lead credit.

He managed to make two very talented but seemingly incompatible stars sound like an instinctive pairing. That I didn’t think of Lep Zeppelin for one second when listening to Raising Sand amounted to a major accomplishment in my book. On the other hand, “bluegrass” didn’t come to my mind, either, even when Krauss pulled out her fiddle.

The sonic imagery T Bone Burnett paints has a worn feel but with modern preciseness. Raising Sand, like so many of his earlier triumphs, boasted an analog warmth with a percussion that resonates without getting out from the background. Kind of like a civil Tom Waits — and in fact, Waits’ “Trampled Rose” was covered on Robert Plant and Allison Krauss’ Raising Sand.

Despite their obvious genre differences, Plant and Krauss sing with quiet confidence and they always seem to try to enhance, rather than outdo, the other. It was an inviting mixture of country folk, Nashville and rock, combined to make something consistently fresh.

Fast forward a few years, outside the glow of praise that ultimately surrounded the five-time Grammy award-winning Raising Sand, and one thing still holds true: You don’t have to be a big fan of either Robert Plant or Alison Krauss to appreciate this album. Indeed, even today, approaching Raising Sand without preconceptions about either of them makes it sound just that much better.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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