Bentley's Bandstand: Robert Plant, Band of Joy

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BY BILL BENTLEY

Robert Plant, Band Of Joy, Rounder Records

This is one swift Englishman. Instead of chasing the wind with a follow-up to his ultra-successful Raising Sand album with Allison Kraus, Robert Plant changes channels and heads for the emotional hitherlands. While the previous collection stayed centered in the sunshine, Band Of Joy roams the bumpy backroads and gets roughed up pretty well. Which is good, because a little too much illumination can make even the best music, well, bright. And dark is what turns on the lovelights the most.

Plant is a music fan of the highest order, and probably has forgotten more songs than most of us have ever heard. That’s why this pair of rootsy treasure chests are such a turn-on. Unknown nuggets pop up everywhere, whether they’re by Rolley Salley or George Vanderpool. To add excellence to excess, the musicians then create unique settings for Plant’s voice to twist them into inspired fountains of feeling. He has never sung better, no matter how high on Mt. Olympus you place Led Zeppelin. There is a depth of experience running through these songs that proves life really does help us learn what we need to know.

For a person of Robert Plant’s pedigree to hit these highs in his AARP-eligible years gives hope to us all that whatever we hope to accomplish remains within reach. With the able hands of co-producer Buddy Miller and wondrous voice of Patty Griffin, score another goal for a singer who has found his calling and is brave enough to roll the tumbling dice one more time.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Mark Morrow

    I agree with Bentleys review of Robert Plants Band of Joy. Plant is in fine voice and seems to have found his comfort zone singing these tunes. Besides, no matter how much we love Zep there is something a bit hokey about sixty something year old men rocking the tunes they played back in the days when they were rebellious youth. This disc sounds honest and heartfelt. Robert Plant’s emotive singing style is on display and Buddy Millers production is tasteful and unique. The clean, shimmery guitar tones and dry percussive drums are a refreshing alternative to the big drums and overdriven guitar sound of most pop recordings. This is a great recording sure to be on many peoples best of the year list.

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