Raising the Roof
Released: November 19, 2021
Peak: 7 US, 3 CW, 5 UK, 16 CN, 18 AU
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 53:32
3.559 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)
Quotable: “Matches [Raising Sand] every step of the way” – Ultimate Classic Rock
About the Album:
14 years ago Led Zeppelin’s golden God Robert Plant teamed up for an unlikely pairing with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss. However, “has pretty much made a second career rewriting and rewiring his past.” UCR He “packed away his hard-rock tendencies and dived deeper into Americana, blues, and world music.” UCR
Plant and Krauss first met a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tribute concert to Lead Belly in 2004 when they teamed up to sing “Black Girl.” Krauss told Rolling Stone in 2008 that, “It wasn’t the right tune to make any judgments about how we would really sound…[But later] Robert talked about driving through the mountains, listening to Ralph Stanley. After minutes, I got who he was, why he would be interested in me.” RS
The pair teamed up with producer T-Bone Burnett in Nashville in 2006 to record an album, tackling obscure songs with an Americana vibe. The rest of the world was interested as well. The resulting album, Raising Sand, reached #2, sold more than a million copies, and won the Grammy for Album of the Year. Their new album, Raise the Roof, “matches it every step of the way.” UCR
Despite the fact that “their backgrounds and record collections rarely intersect…their mutual respect and musical openness…made their collaborations a perfect blending of two seemingly disparate worlds.” UCR The two return with Burnett back as producer for another collection “filled with folk, country, and blues covers” UCR and the “gauzy, serene harmonies that they honed on Raising Sand.” SL
The album features covers of songs by Merle Haggard (Going Where the Lonely Go), Allen Toussaint, the Everly Brothers (The Price of Love), and Scottish folk singer Bert Jansch (It Don’t Bother Me). There’s also lesser-known fare such as an obscure song from singer-songwriter Maria Muldaur (Somebody Was Watching Over Me) and the “gentle folk song Go Your Way” UCR originally by Anne Briggs.
“The oldest song covered here, Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley’s Last Kind Words Blues, was originally released in 1930. It’s haunting not only for its tragic lyrics, but also because it illuminates just how little is known today about the pioneers of rock and Americana.” SL
They also cover “21st-century alt-country” UCR with Calexico’s Quattro (World Drifts In). The song introduces the “broadest thematic scope of all the songs on Raise the Roof, with lyrics about loneliness and moral disorientation.” SL The song also showcases how “Plant’s deep growl [and] Krauss’ sugarcoated higher register meet somewhere in the middle.” UCR “Burnett’s dry and occasionally brittle production complements the tasteful arrangements…Open-aired empty spaces…are almost another instrument here.” UCR
Searchin for My Love “is a welcome change of pace due, in part, to Plant and Krauss’s retention of the Bobby Moore original’s Motown-style backing vocals. While the ’60s soul style might have clashed with the cover’s country guitars, Plant’s gravelly vocals and Krauss’s precise harmonies imbue the song with a tender beauty.” SL
Mixed amongst the covers is one original tune, High and Lonesome, “a moody highlight,” UCR which was written by Plant and Burnett. The lead single, Can’t Let Go is a cover of a Lucinda Williams song from her acclaimed 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
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First posted 11/19/2021; last updated 11/30/2021.