Monday, September 12, 2011

Will Robert Plant sing again between projects?

Campers arriving next Thursday night in Marfa, Texas, for the 6th Annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love, may find out that one of the unnamed "special guests" appearing with Patty Griffin during her set is Robert Plant!

All of a sudden, after one of the most active 12-month periods of live activity in his career, Robert Plant doesn't have many in-concert appearances on his schedule.

He's just gone and spent from July 2010 to August 2011, longer than a full year, on a permanent touring basis with his Band of Joy lineup. They were responsible for the album Band of Joy released one year ago this week, produced by guitarist and bandleader Buddy Miller.

Photo credit: Frank Melfi
Miller, a Nashville favorite, came to Plant for the Raising Sand tour with Alison Krauss that occupied Plant's time for the whole of 2008. Plant, Krauss, producer T Bone Burnett, and the band behind them all, played around the world in far smaller places than a reunited Led Zeppelin might have commanded at the time. But Plant, of course, made his choice.

And when the time came in 2009 for Plant and Krauss to consider a follow-up album, they evidently parted waysat least for the time being, before things got too far along. After they picked up their Grammy awards, they said adieu. For the rest of the year, Plant kept popping up places, sometimes announced in advance but often not.

He was sitting in with lots of folks: his Fate of Nations touring guitarist Francis Dunnery once for a prog-rock rendition of his own "Calling to You," on which Plant was a little rusty.

On two other occasions that year, once in London but earlier in the unlikely setting of Abu Dhabi, Plant sat in with Strange Sensation axeman Justin Adams, along with Gambian singer and stringsman Juldeh Camara, to recreate some Zeppelin songs in a totally foreign manner.

A rather secretive session that year with producer Daniel Lanois failed to yield anything of public note, and Plant soon found his way back to Miller. Before the year-end rehearsal sessions that also brought Texas-based singer Patty Griffin into their attempted studio band, Plant joined Miller at a pair of shows in California over a few days in early October.

Those two shows, in retrospect, turned out to be the best indication, at the time, of where Plant was headed for his next project. The lineup Miller arranged introduced Plant to solo artists Griffin and Darrell Scott, each with a different voice and other various additions to the mix.

With Plant now having no publicized plans for any shows in the future other than an appearance on Oct. 13 at the Americana Music Association's Honors & Awards Show, and a Band of Joy performance in store for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival on Sept. 30, it should be interesting in the coming months or weeks, if not days, to see how Plant occupies his time as a musician.

It would sure be a gas if, for instance, the campers arriving next Thursday night in Marfa, Texas, for the 6th Annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love find out that one of the unnamed "special guests" appearing with Patty Griffin during her set is Robert Plant!

The night would also give the two an opportunity to jam with another Texan, Barbara Lynn, who wrote and performed Plant and Griffin's radio-friendly hit "You Can't Buy My Love" back in 1965. That would certainly have to make the set list, one should think.


  1. I certainly hope he shows up for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, since his performance is a principal reason for my trip there...

  2. Oh yeah, there is that. Added to the story in red lettering. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Gosh I wish he would play with Jimmy again, as much as he would like to forget Led Zeppelin no body else can.... they were so amazing. His voice has never been better than when he was in LZ.


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