Yesterday morning while eating breakfast, I read through part of last month’s Rolling Stone, particularly the interview with Robert Plant and his most recent album “Band of Joy“. The title comes from the name of the band that Plant and John Bonham were in prior to Led Zeppelin, but the content is unrelated – it’s a collection of obscure covers from American indie bands and more obscure older songwriters. Initially when I heard about it and saw it for sale in Starbucks, I figured that it was a tribute to his previous band – which I had zero interest in, even as a big Zep fan – and not the worthy followup to 2007’s Grammy-winning “Raising Sand” collaboration with Allison Krauss.
Sidebar #1: For the last year or so, we’ve had subscriptions to both Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Now, while EW is a far better magazine than its title seems to suggest, I prefer RS‘s meatier take on both music and politics. Just recently we dropped the EW subscription and I don’t really miss it.
Sidebar #2: If you don’t own “Raising Sand”, go buy it. NOW. (I’ll wait.)
Back to Band of Joy – reading the interview got me excited to buy it (I went to Starbucks instead of Tully’s specifically so that I could get it), but I wasn’t prepared for what I heard. I thought “Raising Sand” had vibe – this has vibe and dirt. Not nearly as polished – in a good way. Byron House‘s bass tone alone makes this a must-listen; it sounds like a maxed-out grindy P-bass, from what I can tell…yum city. My wife even listened to it and enjoyed it, and she does not listen to Zep, mostly because of Plant’s wailing. (13 years married and I still haven’t gotten through to her yet. Sad.)
Heartily recommended. And you can probably find it in the Starbucks clearance bin at this point – I found it marked down to $9.99. Well worth it.