On Thursday, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss announced details of their long-rumored reunion album Raise the Roof. It’s a 12-track collection that features their original tune “High and Lonesome,” as well as covers of Lucinda Williams’ “Can’t Let Go,” Calexico’s “Quattro (World Drifts In),” and Geeshie Wiley’s “Last Kind Word Blues.”
In a statement, Krauss said she knew it was time to re-form the duo when she heard the Calexico song. “[That] was the moment I knew we’d make another album,” she said. “We wanted it to move. We brought other people in, other personalities within the band, and coming back together again in the studio brought a new intimacy to the harmonies.”
“You hear something and you go, ‘Man, listen to that song, we got to sing that song!’ ” Plant added. “It’s a vacation, really — the perfect place to go that you least expected to find.”
Their 2007 LP Raising Sand was the most successful project that Robert Plant had taken on since the end of Led Zeppelin in 1980. It debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 and won six Grammys, including Album of the Year. “I’d like to say that I’m bewildered,” Plant said after accepting the Grammy from Green Day. “In the old days, we would have called this selling out. But [winning a Grammy] is a good way to spend a Sunday.”
Months before the album hit, Plant finally gave in to decades of pressure and agreed to reunite with Led Zeppelin for their first full concert since John Bonham died. It was a tribute show to Ahmet Ertegun at London’s O2 Arena, and the band spent months rehearsing to make sure it was note-perfect. A reunion tour seemed like an inevitability, and venues were put on hold in North America, but Plant scuttled the whole thing once Raising Sand became an unexpected smash success.
Instead of spending 2008 playing stadiums with Led Zeppelin, Plant spent the year headlining amphitheaters with Alison Krauss. But they did sprinkle radically rearranged Zeppelin songs like “The Battle of Evermore,” “Black Country Woman,” and “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do” into the set. Here’s video of “Black Dog” from their appearance on CMT’s Crossroads.
Plant and Krauss plan on touring next year. They’ll have two albums’ worth of material to cover, which will probably only leave space for a couple of Zeppelin tunes, at best. That may frustrate some fans who missed out on the O2 Arena show and have been waiting more than 40 years to see the band re-form, but they’ll just have to accept that Raise the Roof is the only Robert Plant reunion project they’re likely ever going to see.