When Robert Plant was ten, his interest in music began, and he would imitate Elvis Presley. By the time he hit teenage, his musical interests had gravitated towards the blues, and he mentioned Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson as his earliest influences. Plant was bent on pursuing music so much that he dropped out of accountancy training after two weeks to start his musical career w. He began performing professionally as a teenager and later joined Led Zeppelin as a lead singer. However, at one point, he decided to collaborate with renowned country singer Alison Krauss, and Robert Plant reflected on the most difficult piece he had to sing while they recorded an album. Here are the details.
Meeting with Alison Krauss
Krauss grew up listening to classical and folk music, but once she was in her teens, her friends preferred hard rock; thus, she was introduced to The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin. Her brother was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, and he would always tell Krauss how great the rock band was. As the songstress matured, she gravitated towards bluegrass, where she became a force to reckon with, winning Grammy after Grammy. However, the curiosity to go out of her comfort zone came in 2004 when she met Plant. According to Mail Online, the two hit it off as they sang during a Lead Belly Tribute in Cleveland. Still, the thought of the two of them collaborating seemed so farfetched until someone else suggested to Plant that he should sing with Krauss. The rock star said that up until 2000, he had explored avenues of history, including folk music.
However, he never quite grasped all about European-Esque American music. His curiosity was quenched when Bill Flanagan introduced Plant to “Crossroads” series’ producers. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the series was designed to bring polar opposite artists together. So they asked him if he knew Krauss, to which Plant responded that she got an angelic voice and her songs are about love, pain, and heartache. He knew that she was a multiple Grammy award winner, and the producers told him that since the bluegrass musician loves Def Leppard so much, they should try and do a duet. As Plant further explained, the producers were sure that the different voices the two artists are blessed with would produce an excellent album. To be sure that the two would sing well together, the “Crossroads” producers had Plant and Krauss do a trial in which Plant discovered for the first time how harmonizing is done. The beautiful songstress taught him how to sing with somebody else, and with that trial going on so well, it was time to put out an album.
Going Out of His Comfort Zone
Plant told CNN that besides collaborating with Sandy Denn in 1971, he had never sung with anybody else; hence it was quite a new experience even to harmonize. Yet, of all the tracks that “Raising Sand” has, “Polly Come Home” was the most challenging song he has ever done. He could only compare the tough moment of recording it to the time he auditioned for the Yardbirds. The cover used a much different tune, such that while the original had a mid-tempo one, Plant and Krauss preferred to slow it down. For someone who is used to being the frontman of a rock band, slowing things down took a toll on Plant’s vocal cords. He acknowledged that even with the song’s opening line, he wondered how he would get through without collapsing. He joked that he needed an iron lung to have more air to hit the right tempo. Still, he gave it his all to produce a beautiful song, and the entire album was positively received.
In recognition of their efforts, it earned them five Grammys, including Album of the Year. However, the album’s success would not have been possible without a third person, T Bone Burnett. According to The New York Times, Plant, Krauss, and Burnett confessed that the “Raising Sand” album was impossible to create if it had been a one-person project. Therefore, even if it started as Plant’s project, working on it collectively brought out the magic in it. The three said that although the songs were covers, they were not nostalgic and represented modern times. Nevertheless, it was not all downhill; at one point, Krauss saw the songs they were meant to sing, and she said she could not do it. Plant also did the same, and Burnett felt that the fear of them going out of their comfort zone transformed the covers into a multi-million dollar selling album.
Prepping for Another Album with Alison Krauss
Considering the success of the first album they collaborated on, it made sense that they would want to do another one. As early as 2009, the two talked about working on the second album and said that if there were a third or fourth album, one of the singers would have to move to the other’s country of residence. Unfortunately, their solo projects must have taken over because, according to The Vogue, Plant said during a 2010 interview that the follow-up sessions had been unsuccessful. Well, things have changed, and although it has taken 14 years for the musical giants to come together again, there is hope for another album. Different people have confirmed the upcoming album, including Greg Leisz, the guitarist on “Raising Sand,” who said that Plant was doing another record with Krauss. He further disclosed that he heard one song, “Searching for My Baby,” and told fans it would blow their minds. Other reports indicated that Krauss was in a recording studio in 2020 along with Plant and Burnett, in Nashville so let’s wait and see if the album is up to par with their first attempt.