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Robert Plant Finds ‘Joy’ in Musical Kinship

Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has become something of an Americana fixture, thanks to his multi-award-winning album, ‘Raising Sand,’ recorded with Alison Krauss and the tour which followed, featuring Americana kingpin and ace musician Buddy Miller. But he recognizes there may be musical purists who didn’t exactly relish his success with that album as much as others.

“Alison used to laugh at me and say, ‘I’ll never work again!’,” Robert tells A.V. Club. “And I say to Buddy, ‘Look, if this is too much, you know, you guys have got to bail out …'”

None of his musical cohorts were seriously concerned about their reputations — Buddy joined him in his latest project, a reformation of his Band of Joy, and he and Alison remain in close touch. Clearly, Robert Plant’s status as a rock god is hardly in jeopardy, yet he remains dedicated to the proposition that no matter the genre, the song, to borrow an old familiar phrase, remains the same.

“It’s telling stories,” he says. “Songs are tales. And the tale can be told in another country in another way. My sensitivity and my love of music has no boundary. I can be reverential if that’s what it requires. And it shouldn’t. It’s about singing the song.”

On the subject of a second album with Alison, Robert remains uncertain. “I know she had a great time because her hips were swinging, she was rocking out. She was singing at the top of everything that she could do, with gusto. She unleashed herself in a different way. She’s such a beautiful friend. But I think she had to go back [to her own projects].”

The 62-year-old Englishman says singer-songwriter Patty Griffin has encouraged him to write new material. “I really like the idea of that. Singing with her is way cool. It’s such a different thing, the combination of voices of Patty and I. And Buddy’s the kind of captain of the ship, in a way. His integrity and his scowls. If I’m going a little bit too far into Englishness, he’ll pull it all back into a decent line that won’t offend even the most conservative Nashvillian.”

Robert Plant’s latest album, ‘Band of Joy,’ is named for the late 1960s, pre-Led Zep experimental blues group he fronted and features both Patty and Buddy, and famed songwriter Darrell Scott.

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