Review: Robert Plant, ‘Band of Joy’

Review: Robert Plant, ‘Band of Joy’: Aidin Vaziri | Why has Robert Plant chosen this precise moment to revive his short-lived experimental blues outfit from the tail end of the ’60s, Band of Joy? Why not? The former Led Zeppelin front man thrives on defying expectations. So the follow-up to his Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand,” once again finds him working with a dream team of American roots musicians, including singer Patty Griffin, guitarist and co-producer Buddy Miller, multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, bassist Byron House and drummer Marco Giovino. Together they take on a series of unexpected covers, such as Los Lobos’ 20-year-old “Angel Dance” and the Townes Van Zandt rarity “Harms Swift Way,” along with several traditional tunes, including “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” and the Appalachian folk ditty “Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday.” The album has a distinct rockabilly feel, making it slightly livelier than its predecessor. But it’s on the hushed ballads that Plant’s leathery voice really captivates, particularly “Silver Rider” and “Monkey,” smoldering ballads by the little-known Minnesota indie rock band Low. As a follow-up to the blockbuster “Raising Sand” it makes perfect sense. But as an alternative to a cash-grabbing Zeppelin nostalgia tour, it’s really the only way to go.

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