Tuesday, June 4, 2024

TRULY AMAZING ...................


I mean what  can one say ......Robert plant ......simply leader of one of the  greatest  band  alive  ......and still ticking .........Allison Kraus.....what a  pair....... or team  .....fucking  eh !!!!!!not  much else  you can  expand   upon.......Robert plant  has  been  the most amazing   musician  alive  .......... ..even  to this day ........  his  old  albums   are  still  fucking   hot  as  fuck .......nice one  ......

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Reveal How Humor Keeps Them Going and If New Music Is On the Way

“Robert just sent a picture of himself from 1981 in a bar and is wearing the smallest shorts in history. The smallest shorts anyone has ever seen. They don’t even qualify as shorts.”

This is what Alison Krauss tells me as we chitchat over the phone on a recent Friday morning in May. The short shorts-sporting Robert in question is Robert Plant, who soon dials into this conference call and apologizes profusely for being a few minutes late, then announces that he’s calling from a 14th century castle near the Welsh border “where Richard III planned the demise of his entire family” — a very Robert Plant place to be.

More from Billboard

We’re convened to discuss Krauss and Plant’s summer tour, which started on Sunday (June 2) in Tulsa, Okla. and will make its way to another 36 cities in the U.S. and Canada over the next three months. 10 of these dates will be alongside Willie Nelson & Family, Bob Dylan and Celisse on the Outlaw Music Festival tour.

“I think it started off very tentatively,” Plant says of going on the road together over the last few summers. “Myself and Alison were very cagey about the whole idea, having been apart for such a long time, and as it developed, it just felt very natural. And there are places to play, and if you don’t play them, somebody else will.”

This is the third consecutive summer the pair are on the road together, a tradition that began after the 2021 release of their second collaborative album Raise The Roof. The album arrived 14 years after their debut project, Raising Sand, which won album of the year at the 2009 Grammys. Both projects found the duo covering songs by artists as disparate as The Everly Brothers and Calexico, along with a few of their own originals.

Since emerging at the tail end of the CD era, much has been made about the odd couple factor in the pairing of the bluegrass country star and rock’s archetypal golden god. Today on the phone, Krauss says she and Plant are “definitely yin and yang,” a point Plant reiterates when he says working with Krauss has taught him “humility” and the sort of vocal discipline that was not necessarily required when he was ripping the warrior cries on “Immigrant Song.”

There’s magic here too, in both the sort of mystical thing their voices do in tandem and the comedic duo vibe of their rapport that may not necessarily translate to live shows but is clear during our 30 minutes on the phone, during which they make each other laugh hard and often, and not only because a leitmotif of the conversation becomes Plant’s shorts and the lengths he’s worn them at over the years.

“I used to turn up to play and all the people in the club who were real strong, country working men, they all told me to bugger off,” Plant says of a local U.K. venue he often wore very short shorts to in the ’80s, an era in which he says he already felt “washed up.” “They said ‘No, we don’t need your type here’, because obviously I’d been a little bit too successful at some point. So I thought I’d thrill them with my my clothing.” Meanwhile Krauss says if she looked like what Plant looked like in the image he sent her before our call, “I might send some photos of myself around too.” She jokes that while he’s at the castle today, she’ll be at home doing laundry. “Oh, I love you Alison,” he says. “It’s been difficult without you, I must say.”

Below, the two talk about touring, singing and why it isn’t a time to write love songs.

After all this time performing as a duo, are you finding new things your voices can do together, or at this point is it just about maintaining the thing you’ve developed?

Krauss: My brother, who’s out on the road with us, is like, “It’s strange when you guys sing together, it sounds like three [people]. It has its own thing happening.” It does become something else. We’re just so different, and I think the surprise of the two of us singing together in the first place — from the world I come from and the same from Robert — you just would have never put the two together. But it worked.

Plant: It certainly did. All the way down the line [it’s been] a continuation of learning and going back to a technique, which was, many years ago, foreign to me. But since we’ve worked together and gotten into the curves of Alison’s approach to things, I mean, for most guys who have come out of a world of rock… when I was able to get [metaphorical] day release and get away [from rock music], I found a new capacity to think and a new study to make.

How so?

Plant: Allison helped me, because some of the harmonic structure we share is not within the ballpark or the canon of what I’ve been used to. So it’s great to actually go out there and know I’m being watched at various parts of a song to see whether or not I’m going to go to the right note, or to a note that’s in tune, but obviously is not coming from the high altar of A.K.’s. It’s good; it keeps me agile. I mean, maybe when we do stuff like “Battle Of Evermore,” it’s more in the free zone that I came from.

Krauss: And I don’t know if I have a free zone. [laughs]

Plant: Yeah, you do! I’ve heard it, and I’ve got the tapes. I mean, it really is a radically different approach. There’s no room for any other style than the one I signed up to be in in this situation, but I can feel what the permutations of it are. And we’ve got it down. It’s good.

I wonder if that’s part of this enduring appeal of this project for you both — it’s comfortable, but it’s not necessarily predictable, so it stays exciting.

Plant: Yeah, and that’s when the humor comes in. I mean, that’s when I can feel [like] the microscope that could be used [to look] at the surface of Mars is actually turned [to look] at my performance going “Come on, get on with it.”

This is the third summer in a row that you’re on the road together. Do you anticipate introducing any new covers to the setlist?

Krauss: I’m sure there will be something that shows up.

Plant: Yes. I think Alison’s absolutely right.

Would you ever consider writing more music together?

Plant: I mean, there’s a vast array of topics out there for mature lyrics, frighteningly vast. It’s a long, long way from Carl Perkins and Loretta Lynn to where we’re at now lyrically and where we are in our own spaces on this pretty disturbed planet. So how you make a good [song] of that is a tough call, really.

So it sounds like there are things to write about?

Plant: Well look, I mean, I was going to say I’m a European, but we’re not Europeans. We’re at the last clan mass before the new world, really. We have so much turmoil in this country right now. It’s a place that I can’t see myself commenting on, because there’s so many shards of social upheaval and sadness. And so this is just not the time to be writing a love song, I don’t think.

Given that turmoil, I wonder if part of the continuing appeal of this project for audiences is that it gives people comfort to hear you two singing these beautiful, older songs and creating something they can just relax into for a moment.

Krauss: It’s just a very joyful atmosphere, and I want to be in that place.

Plant: Yeah, exactly that.

Krauss: I hope we can bring some folks along with us.

10 of these dates are part of the Outlaw Music Festival tour. What is it like to shift into the atmosphere of that larger musical community while on the road? Is there anyone you’re performing with that you’re particularly eager to be around?

Krauss: I love these Outlaw shows. I’ve done a number of them through the years with Willie… I think it’s going to be an amazing evening with all these guys, but I have to say that of all three of those guys, the guy that can pull off the shorts is Robert.

Plant: Actually, as a matter of fact, here within the shadows of Ludlow Castle, a 14th century masterpiece of Norman architecture, I am actually wearing shorts as I sit here under a London plane tree in the late afternoon. But at the shows, we say, “We’re going on at X time, and then you do what you like after that.”

I should be attached to Dylan’s dark humor and wit and quiet joy in weaving another spell. I mean, I’ve seen him quite a lot over the years, and the great conjecture has always been, “Well, what did you think?” I saw him in Roskilde in Denmark three or four years ago. We were playing one night with [Plant’s Band, The Sensational] Shapeshifters, and he was playing the night before. We met in a rainy parking lot while his bus waited to take him across a big bridge into Germany. It was just a great meeting of confounded men that will not stop. And I loved that. I think that’s just the troubadour. What would you do, after all the magnificences? Can you go back and bounce your grandchildren on the knee? My granddaughter is 29; she’s not going to have that. So I think it’s going to be fantastic. I’m very enthused for it. Who knows how Dylan will present these songs? How long will it take to realize it’s “Masters Of War”?

It sounds like you’ll be in the audience waiting to find out.

Plant: The fact is that between Alison and more recently myself, I’ve dug deep into the old music. The old, old music. Some of it that floated across with the Puritans in the 1600s and sort of remodeled itself into these timeless songs. And I hear a lot of them coming out of the guy from Minnesota. I can also hear them in the folk club in England and some spectacular contemporary English recitations of folk. The topic sometimes are a little… I mean, thank God for Dylan, or I’d have been stuck with some of those 300 year old diatribes.

Has anything stood out to you both recently in terms of new music?

Krauss: I haven’t been listening to anything new. I’ve been in the studio, so you don’t want to put the radio on when you when you get in the car.

Plant: We did both have a sneak preview into T Bone’s [Burnett’s newest album.] He spilled the beans. That was very touching, I thought, and cathartic for him I’m sure.

And now we have coming around the corner from another Paleolithic Era, Dave Gilmour taped himself to the studio. I’m still buying into how people of my generation move through the times and through the fears, because one step the wrong way and we’re all pastiche again. I’m so aware of where I don’t want to be. So I think that will be very interesting. And in Britain, media wise, David Gilmore carries a lot of journalistic clout. And then Tinariwen from Mali… Those are two projects that I’m interested in.

Robert, there’s a new Zeppelin documentary coming out. After all this time, what else is there left to learn about the band?

Plant: [laughs] Oh, you can’t even imagine. Talk about Pan’s Labyrinth. Or, I think Donovan once wrote an album called What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid. Led Zeppelin just marched and sashayed and swam and paddled through more than 10 years of learning the game, and in the end, the game was modified two or three years later by the grand order of how to harness stardom and the showbiz of rock. So I guess, in a very sad, sad way, we must have bowed out just in time.

But it sounds like there’s still, as you’re saying, tales untold and things to learn and that maybe this new documentary will reveal some of that?

Plant: Maybe. I’m not sure. I saw some bits of it a while back. It’s taken from very early on, so it’s pre-shorts.

The pre-shorts and post-shorts eras.

Plant: Yeah. More kilt than shorts, I think.

What have you two learned from each other over this long collaboration?

Plant: Patience and humility I think, for me.

Krauss: Well, you know, I’ve got to lighten up, but I haven’t yet.

Plant: [laughs] You see why it’s so funny! By whatever means these conversations reach the paying audiences who scream for shorts, you can’t actually transmit this rubbish. It’s just too good.


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