Produced by Plant, the 11-song LP features accompaniment from his Lullaby backers the Sensational Space Shifters, which includes John Baggott, Justin Adams, Dave Smith and Liam "Skin" Tyson. Albanian cellist Redi Hasa and violist/violinist Seth Lakeman (who recently joined the group) also perform on three tracks. Chrissie Hynde makes a special appearance in a duet with Plant for Ersel Hickey's "Bluebirds Over the Mountain."
"It's about intention, I respect and relish my past works but each time I feel the lure and incentive to create new work. I must mix old with new," Plant said of the new album in a statement. "Consequently the whole impetus of the band has moved on its axis somewhat, the new sound and different space giving way to exciting and dramatic landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation."
Plant released "The May Queen," the album's first single dealing in romanticism and losing oneself to those feelings. In keeping with mixing "the old with the new," the song's title refers back to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," which contains the line "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow / Don't be alarmed now / It's just a spring clean for the May queen."
"Lay down in sweet surrender/ Your love so warm and tender," Plant sings over winsome guitar melodies and rhythms, before layered vocals are ushered in. "Sweet surrender now/ So warm and tender now," he sings over lush vocal harmonies.
The song is available for immediate download to those that pre-order Carry Fire. Pre-orders made from Robert Plant's website or Nonesuch will also receive an exclusive limited-edition print culled from the album art.
Carry Fire will be released on October 13th via Nonesuch/Warner Bros. with a tour to follow in November, which will begin in the UK and Ireland.
Carry Fire Track List
1. "The May Queen"
2. "New World…"
3. "Season's Song"
4. "Dance With You Tonight"
5. "Carving Up the World Again… a Wall and Not a Fence"
6. "A Way With Words"
7. "Carry Fire"
8. "Bones of Saints"
9. "Keep it Hid"
10. "Bluebirds Over the Mountain"
11. "Heaven Sent"