Robert Plant: Band Of Joy

Robert Plant: Band Of Joy

B+

Robert Plant

Album: Band Of Joy
Label: Rounder

Around 1993, starting with the underrated Fate Of Nations, Robert Plant began to define a sound as a solo artist that was distinct from his work with Led Zeppelin. While earlier Plant records had stayed au courant, Fate Of Nations dabbled in hypnotic ’60s folk-rock, and though Plant took a nine-year break after that album, he’s stayed in that mode of rootsy rock mysticism ever since, continuing on from 2002’s terrific Dreamland. Fresh off multiple Grammys for his Alison Krauss collaboration Raising Sand, Plant heads back to the ol’ well with Band Of Joy, a set of offbeat rock and country covers recorded with Nashville legend Buddy Miller, and featuring guest vocals by Patty Griffin. Plant tackles songs by Townes Van Zandt, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Richard Thompson, and Los Lobos, and throws a few curves with two—count ’em, two—faithful covers of Low songs, plus a stirring version of alt-country cult act Milton Mapes’ “The Only Sound That Matters.” What was once Plant’s bold reclamation of self has become a little pat, but it’s hard to complain about the predictability of Band Of Joy when the songs sound so good, with their softly sawing guitars, syncopated rhythms, and voices rising from the fuzz, strong and sure.