In 2007, an album was released that is arguably the best release in the new millennium. 'Raising Sand' featured the vocal talents of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, the iconic singer best known for his time with Led Zeppelin. Plant not only had roots in Hard Rock, he also recorded some of the great 1950s standards as frontman of the band The Honeydrippers. Krauss was known for her Bluegrass Roots music, both solo and with the band Union Station. The unlikely pairing as brought together seamlessly by producer T-Bone Burnett, whose career as a musician, songwriter, and producer has been nothing short of amazing. His work with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, John Mellencamp, Counting Crows, Elton John & Leon Russell, and Elvis Costello, to just name a few, shows how well he works to make great music. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling about 112,000 copies in its first week, the highest chart position for either artists' solo work, although Plant had previously reached #1 several times with Led Zeppelin. 'Raising Sand' was certified platinum by the RIAA in 2008. On February 8, 2009, 'Raising Sand' won all five awards for which it was nominated at the 51st Grammy Awards: including 'Album of the Year'; 'Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album'; 'Record of the Year' for "Please Read the Letter".
First I will feature one of my favorite tracks on the album, "Rich Woman". The song was written by Dorothy LaBostrie and McKinley Millet, and recorded by McKinley "L'il" Millet and his Creoles in 1955. I just loved the sound of the song, and how incredible the voices sounded together. It just has such amazing depth and texture to it, which could be why it also was named 'Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals' at the 2009 Grammy Awards.
The second track on the album, "Killing The Blues" was written by Rowland "Roly" Salley. The songwriter is perhaps better known for playing the bass guitar as part of Chris Isaak's band Silvertone. Putting his beautiful song into the artful hands of Plant, Krauss and Burnett allowed the song to be shown at it's best, their voices taking a haunting feel that works to well. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, the song was named 'Best Country Collaboration with Vocals'. Here is a clip of the song being sung live on 'Later...With Jools Holland' in 2008.
I was also just insanely crazy about the song "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)". It was written by Don and Phil Everly and recorded by the Everly Brothers. Of course, it was written with themselves in mind, and their incredible harmonies that were the trademark of the duo. But Burnett mixed it up a bit, giving the song a timeless feel, and Plant and Krauss responded with amazing vocals. "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)" was released as a single, and it was also named 'Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals' at the 50th Grammy Awards. Enjoy this music video shot for the song.
Finally, I also loved "Fortune Teller", written by Naomi Neville. This was a pen name for Jazz great Allen Toussaint, when he was writing in the 1950s and 1960s, trying to work his way around publishing contracts. The song has a great feel to it, with interesting rhythms and a dark and brooding feel. I hope you enjoy "Fortune Teller".