Robert Plant – “Band of Joy”

Possibly hoping to revisit the success and acclaim of 2007’s Raising Sand (his multi-Grammy winning album with Alison Krauss) Robert Plant recreated his Band of Joy for a self-titled record with Americana stylings.

While the Band of Joy album wasn’t nominated for the stunning 5 awards of it’s predecessor, it’s up for two – Best Americana Album and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance (for “Silver Rider”).

The album finds Buddy Miller at the production helm with Patty Griffin providing harmonies (vocals aren’t split evenly between the two) plus a talented set of players: Byron House, Darrell Scott and Marco Giovino.

The band shines on the gospel-tinged “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” and the traditional “Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday.” Covers of Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance,” Townes Van Zandt’s “Harm’s Swift Way” and Richard Thompson’s “House of Cards” round out the 12 tracks. “Central Two-O-Nine” is the only original, a co-write between Plant and Miller.

Griffin’s ethereally beautiful additions to “Silver Rider” and “Monkey” plus the fact that her voice simply doesn’t provide the same counterpoint to Plant’s familiar nasal sound (as Krauss’ did) help make up for the lack of true duets. Still, even though it’s technically a Plant endeavor, it would have been nice for him to share the spotlight a little more with Griffin, perhaps with a solo or two as they have been doing in the live shows.

The Band of Joy has dates through June 2011 including at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

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