Sunday, October 4, 2009

Robert Plant performs second gig with Buddy Miller in San Francisco; circumstances may hint toward Plant's next project

Robert Plant was spotted by a photographer at a mall in Malibu, Calif., for this photo printed by British tabloid The Sun on Sept. 29. Yet four hundred miles from Malibu, Plant made his third and fourth onstage performances all year long in a single weekend. Both times, he played with Nashville session musician Buddy Miller over the weekend in San Francisco, including at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival yesterday.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 27 highlighted a complete lineup of performers who were scheduled to appear over three days at the free concert at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. Almost prophetically, Robert Plant's name did appear in the middle of it all, though not as a scheduled performer.

Update: Footage from the show

He was mentioned only as someone with whom Miller, the expert sideman, has recently played. Other names touted in this capacity were John Fogerty, Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris. Interestingly, though, the authors called Miller "a magnet for guests on his set."

During Miller's 11:45 a.m. set on the Towers of Gold stage, Plant was one of two special guests who appeared. He was brought in "to unleash his leather lung wail on the Hank Snow standard 'I'm Movin' On,'" according to Aidan Vaziri in the San Francisco Chronicle. There's also a remark attributed to Plant in the article: "This is like going to school for me."

As for Miller's other onstage guest during his festival set, Vaziri reports that Emmylou Harris, who later concluded the night with her own set, joined Miller in singing his "Wide River to Cross." Although Miller's tour dates don't reflect it on his own Web site, he'll be accompanying Harris on tour all this month, opening for her.

Plant had also performed in San Francisco on Friday night at a charity show where Miller performed as part of the backing band for Boz Scaggs. Twitter user Stax provided some information about this earlier appearance: "Plant sang several songs with Buddy's band and later sat in with Boz Scaggs and the Blue Velvet Band (with James Cotton). Plant was visibly excited to be sharing the stage with Cotton, singing Jimmy Reed's 'Baby what you want me to do.' To answer your question, yes, one of the songs Plant played with Buddy was 'What You Gonna Do, Leroy.'"

Last year, while Plant and Krauss began their world tour in support of their album Raising Sand, Miller was the capable guitarist at stage right for every show. He did not perform on their album, but Plant did appear on the disc released this March by Buddy and Julie Miller, Written in Chalk.

A year ago, Plant issued a statement saying he would not tour for two years and would not partake in any recording sessions with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones or Jason Bonham. At the time, Led Zeppelin reunion rumors were widely reported in the press, even with one account claiming Plant had agreed to participate in a Zep reunion tour.

Progress on a follow-up album has been the subject of some confusion in recent months. In an interview published in the Sunday Express this August, Krauss was so unsure of how to describe their album because it evidently hadn't yet been recorded and the personnel hadn't yet been nailed down for sure. The Sunday Express's Charlotte Heathcote reported that Plant and Krauss hadn't "even decided whether they should ask influential producer T-Bone Burnett, who gave Raising Sand its stripped-back sound, back on board."

The only date currently on Krauss's official tour schedule is Oct. 12, when she and her band, Union Station, are to perform during the Rounder Records 40th Anniversary Celebration at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. There is no official word on whether Plant will be in Nashville to attend Rounder's celebration.

(Coincidentally, John Paul Jones is scheduled to appear in Nashville exactly one week earlier; he and Them Crooked Vultures are booked for a show at the War Memorial, the band's first show outside of Austin for this tour. From Nashville, the band heads directly to Columbus, Ohio, for a show the following night.)

Over the summer, Krauss and Union Station were recording a new album. A Rounder spokesperson confirmed to in June that Krauss was planning to tour with Union Station in 2010.

1 comment:

  1. I really havent heard much about Plant in recent years. He is arguably the best lead singer of all time, and its great to see him touring again and working on new projects.


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