Raising Sand rocks the charts

Robert Plant, Alison Krauss - Raising SandOf this fall’s new releases, few have received as much attention in the music business press as Raising Sand from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, just out on Rounder Records. The notion of the sweet-voiced bluegrass balladeer teamed with the former Led Zeppelin vocalist, and super-hot producer T-Bone Burnett was too tempting to resist, and speculation about the album’s likely success has been a hot topic since its release was announced by Rounder back in August.

It seems that the media interest has been reflected among music consumers, and after one week in release, Raising Sand has made an impressive debut on the Billboard charts. The CD shows up as the #1 Rock Album for the past week, and #2 in the Top 200 Albums, Country Albums, Internet Sales and Digital Sales.

This isn’t a recording that grabs you by the shoulders and hits you over the head from the first track – nor is it a bluegrass project by any stretch (obligatory disclaimer). The music is subtle – and genre-bending – with producer Burnett using an interesting layered approach to the use of the primarily acoustic instruments in the mix.

Percussion is generally muted and understated, and the quirky rhythms typical of Led Zeppelin can be found. But so can Krauss’ trademark soft-sung sound, an approach that commands your attention as surely as Plant’s early wails with Led Zep ever did.

Find more details on the CD on the duo’s new web site, where you can also hear the entire CD online, and see for yourself whether the music calls to you.

The pair have been making media appearances in London this week, after doing the same in the US last week. They have taped an episode for The Charlie Rose Show, and a performance for CMT Crossroads, both due to air in the near future. Their recent interview with NPR’s Studio 360, where they discuss how the pairing came to be and how the recording progressed, can be accessed online.

This Saturday (11/3), Sirius Satellite Radio subscribers can hear an hour-long interview with Plant and Krauss on Sirius Disorder (channel 70) at 4:00 p.m., with rebroadcasts on Sunday (11/4) at 6:00 p.m. and Monday (11/5) at 2:00 p.m. All times eastern.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.