When these two prodigious vocal talents first performed together at a Leadbelly tribute concert, they vowed to work together again. When I first heard of their improbable collaboration, I feared the worst. Fear not. T-Bone Burnett has steered another masterpiece, featuring key players from his O Brother Where Art Thou? project, uncovering more gems from the Americana-roots songbook. Mel Tillis, Gene Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits all get the treatment on Raising Sand. Robert Plant exercises unprecedented restraint, rarely evoking Led Zeppelin…with a few exhilarating exceptions. Although the Englishman rose to fame as a solo blues singer, on Sand he innately adapts to the vocal group stylings of the The Carter Family and the The Everly Brothers. Krauss has harmonized her way to a female record 21 Grammys (the 21st for Raising Sand), so it’s no surprise that once Plant settles into the material, the result is pure joy.
Michelle Gutierrez is an empowered woman and freelance writer.