Saturday, December 5, 2009

Page and Plant's supporting cast branches out

While we wait to hear what kind of "big project" Jimmy Page could be working on in the new year, and if Robert Plant's recent work with Daniel Lanois and Buddy Miller might hold any promise for the future, there's news this week from two of the most recent figures in their working history.
On the Page side, filmmaker Davis Guggenheim is now pushing another movie, his first since "It Might Get Loud." That documentary covers what inspired three guys from different backgrounds and with different motivations all to the same instrument. Guggenheim's new directorial effort, "Waiting for Superman," is scheduled to make its world premiere as it competes at next month's Sundance Film Festival.
Oh, the topic? Guggenheim documents flaws in the education system (see, a topic far removed from the guitar documentary. Not that anybody was expecting the man behind "An Inconvenient Truth" to keep on churning out Page-centric movies for the rest of his career or anything, but they did a fine job on the one. "It Might Get Loud," by the way, is available for download on iTunes this coming Tuesday and is also headed to theaters in England next month.
On the Plant side, Raising Sand producer T Bone Burnett has landed himself a regular gig as executive musical producer for a TV show. This press release explains what the show "Tough Trade" is all about, but the point is this would certainly detract from any time he would have available to produce the next album with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
You have to wonder how long ago Burnett knew he wouldn't have another Plant/Krauss album in the hopper. As of January, they were in pre-production with Burnett on board. As of July and August, they were still in pre-production but with Burnett's future on the project hanging in the balance. Krauss said they didn't want their second album to sound the same and weren't sure if Burnett would be back on the project again after all. Now, with this TV show gig, Burnett's a little busy to be devoting time to a new album.
As reported by, Plant's been spotted in the studio recording some demos with U2 producer Daniel Lanois, although it hasn't been publicly revealed why they were together. My personal opinion, and I'll be clear that this is a guess only, is that Plant is checking Lanois out as a possible producer for a new album with Krauss. Plant's taking the reins while Krauss is busy with Union Station for the next year or so. Any recording Plant has done with singer Trixie Whitley may have been intended for Plant to test out what his voice sounds like with that of a female singer under the production of Lanois. If Krauss isn't ready to move forward in the direction Plant likes, he might decide to keep Trixie Whitley and record with her.
Also, it's possible Plant and Krauss were discussing music this week. He's been spotted in Nashville a few times recently, including once this week with Krauss at Bongo Java -- this reported spotting came from a source using Twitter. As for what they're up to, and what Buddy Miller may or may not have to do it all, this is all just conjecture here.

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