Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at no point appeared to be in a hurry to record a follow-up to their first album together, 2007’s “Raising Sand,” which was a surprise sales hit and swept all six Grammys it was up for in 2009, including the top two prizes, record and album of the year. But some good things do come to those who wait, and the unlikely pair are making a by-now unlikely comeback 14 years later with a second duo album, “Raise the Roof,” due Nov. 19 on Rounder.
The template that made the first album such an unexpected monster has been put back in place, with T Bone Burnett producing and assembling some of his all-star studio players, and a track list made up almost entirely of cover versions of less familiar tunes by some well-known names.
The first single, out today, is “Can’t Let Go” by Randy Weeks, heretofore known as one of the highlights of Lucinda Williams’ classic 1998 “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” album. Other tracks dip into the catalogs of Calexico (whose “Quattro (World Drifts In)” leads off the collection), Merle Haggard, the Everly Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Bert Jansch and others. One track, “High and Lonesome,” is an original co-written by the former Led Zeppelin singer with producer Burnett.
A tour is planned for 2022, with dates to be announced later.
“We wanted it to move,” Krauss said in a statement announcing the record. “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!’” added Plant. “It’s a vacation, really—the perfect place to go that you least expected to find.”
Among the musicians, familiar to anyone who knows Burnett’s inner circle and/or the lineup for the first album, includes guitarists Marc Ribot, David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos fame), Bill Frisell and Buddy Miller; bassists Dennis Crouch and Viktor Krauss; pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl and drummer Jay Bellerose.
“Raising Sand” debuted at No. 2 in the U.S. and went platinum on the way to its sixfold Grammy sweep. After successfully touring behind the album, Plant and Krauss dove into what was expected to be a fairly fast follow-up at the time, but never finished the project.
The track list for “Raise the Roof”:
1. Quattro (World Drifts In)
2. The Price of Love
3. Go Your Way
4. Trouble With My Lover
5. Searching for My Love
6. Can’t Let Go
7. It Don’t Bother Me
8. You Led Me to the Wrong
9. Last Kind Words Blues
10. High and Lonesome
11. Going Where the Lonely Go
12. Somebody Was Watching Over Me
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