Duet album a unique delight

Justin Rodstrom

“Raising Sand,” the duet project from former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and bluegrass sweetheart Alison Krauss comes as a true revelation. Plant and Krauss silhouette through tender passages, voices melting and swaying to a myriad of delicately picked tunes from veteran producer T. Bone Burnett. Truly a chance encounter, the album is like catching the two perfect fireflies in your summer night’s jar.

The album features a hypnotic potion of Middle Eastern violin, hauntingly serene vocals and a sense of shared artistic vision. With “Trampled Rose,” Krauss’s voice rises up like dark smoke from violin embers, stirred by inflective banjo accompaniment. The pair reinvents and re-imagines the possibilities for a duet album, preferring to concentrate on mood and style over the hackneyed duets form (see Tony Bennet’s “Duets”). The innovation of this album is in T. Bone Burnett’s choices to use the lead vocalists as environment-setters rather than only foregrounding. Some of the sweetest moments come together in the gentle weaving of Plant and Krauss as background harmonization.

This album is an absolute must in the adult contemporary market, but its authenticity and forward-thinking vision gives it a shelf life exceeding that of its contemporaries. It is this innovation that has led the duo to give gushing recounts of the project and hint at the desire to take it on the road, even going so far as expressing the desire to continue this project with another album. So rarely do you see such a balanced matching of such starkly different backgrounds come together for such a unique and rewarding studio performance.

Top Tunes: This album is top-to- bottom amazing. Don’t settle for a download; go pick it up.