Monday, April 22, 2013

U.S. tour dates announced for Robert Plant; June-July for world music tour with Sensational Space Shifters

Robert Plant has new words today on his musical direction or "path," a word he always preferred over "career" anyway. Contained in a press release announcing his June and July U.S. tour dates with the Sensational Space Shifters are these words:
"Keep it fresh, spin the bottle, dig deep, embrace the past - visit it - celebrate it - but don't build a home in it."
Yeah, it sounds like something Plant would say. It helps to understand why so much of their concert has been taken up by playing Led Zeppelin songs. The evidence is on the official live releases he's recorded with them, available as downloads or physical CDs. Just check

His 2013 touring band, the Sensational Space Shifters, is fresh off a month of dates in Australia and New Zealand, not to mention Singapore, one destination that never came through for Led Zeppelin back in the day. The Sensational Space Shifters are a reconfigured Strange Sensation, the backing band that accounted for Plant's 2001-2007 output -- up to his collaboration with Alison Krauss and the Led Zeppelin reunion.

The Strange Sensation backed Plant on the albums Dreamland and Mighty ReArranger as well as many performances, including for the WOMAD audience. Since then, guitarist Justin Adams recruited riti player Juldeh Camara from the Gambia. Also coming from that country with experience in sabar drumming is Dave Smith, a jazz drummer and orchestral percussionist said to have "Ginger Baker-like energy." Meanwhile, guitarist Skin Tyson and bassist Billy Fuller played in the 2010 project Men from Mars, recording "in the hills of Snowdonia" a self-titled album available for download at Bandcamp. Keyboardist John Baggott has been composing for TV and film.

Plant's press release reveals that he was a "timid English boy" early in his teens, growing up in a "sanitized shelter." He grew immensely, finishing out his teens having just become a quarter of the lineup of Led Zeppelin.

An array of sonic influences continued to develop Plant's singing throughout the years, not the least of which is the music of the Mississippi Delta: "a world of field holler, despair, Levee camp and chain-gang moans; of Saturday night fish-fry and Juke Joint foot stomp."

Plant has also learned "from the sounds of Southside Chicago Electric Blues; of Griot mantras from West Africa; from Louisiana Dance Halls; Greenwich Village Folk hangover; Haight Ashbury indulgences; Moroccan medina breakbeat; the early English radical techno materials, Texas two-step and Bristol Dubstep."

The Sensational Space Shifters and Plant, this June and July, are coming to the United States to play 21 cities spanning both coasts and a few in between. Fifty years after being that "timid English boy," Plant is "drawing from a lifetime of adventures, tracking the dark, beautiful resonator." While speculation about any kind of a possible Led Zeppelin reunion can be put off for the near future, it's said that "Plant follows his heart and lifts his voice higher and joyous ever away."

What the press release doesn't indicate is whether they'll be unveiling any new music at this time. UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: A publicist for Plant says the set list has yet to be determined and added "no new record [is] scheduled to be released." Tour dates follow, after the jump: