Alison Krauss is country, Robert Plant’s more than a little bit rock-and-roll

Disparate musical pairings often produce unfortunate results: Remember Tony Bennett and Céline Dion? Sometimes, though, the right improbable mix of performers can lead to an altogether new and welcome sound.

That’s exactly what happened when bluegrass-country singer Alison Krauss teamed up with iconic Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant for the new CD Raising Sand. Plant’s instantly recognizable wail is softened to a croon as he and Krauss, hitting notes as clean and crisp as a (pre–global warming) fall day, produce gorgeous rockabilly-country tracks with only occasional hints of rock and roll. All songs are covers, and two are standouts: versions of the Everly Brothers’ “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)” and the Plant–Jimmy Page song “Please Read the Letter.”

Instead of coasting along on his tried-and-true rock-and-roll formula, the 59-year-old Plant has capitalized on the opportunity to work with his 36-year-old (Grammy-winning) collaborator and made a fine, eclectic record. Hard-core Led Zeppelin fans may grumble, but for the rest of us, especially those who are no longer 19 in spirit or in fact, this genre-bending foray will be a welcome addition to the music library.

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Alison Krauss is country, Robert Plant’s more than a little bit rock-and-roll