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Album Review
Robert Plant - Band of Joy Album Cover

Robert Plant - Band of Joy

Reviewed by
8.0
Robert Plant - Band of Joy
Record Label: Rounder Records
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2010
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Who would've thought that after eight solo albums and 20 plus years into a solo career, Robert Plant would team up with bluegrass starlet Allison Krauss and pen a Grammy-Award winning hit album? To boot, who would've thought he'd find so much comfort in the roots genre, he'd craft another deeply-worn Americana disc? Certainly not this writer.

But sure enough, Plant has once again crafted Band of Joy, a tightly-packed collection of traditional arrangements, originals and numerous co-writes. Utilizing the limitless talents of veteran troubadour Buddy Miller, do-it-all wondergirl Patty Griffin and multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, Band of Joy is a timeless and poignant release that is unlike very few of its contemporaries. Though it is arresting and spellbinding in places, it's not the cogent and potent work of Raising Sand. That being said, the disc is no slouch, either.

Timid opener "Angel Dance," doesn't exactly set fire to the ground, but the Richard Thompson number "House of Cards," does. Lingering, dense and deeply layered, it's a haunting composition and one of the year's best. The lo-fi "Central Two-O-Nine," is another tepid affair but the epic ballad "Silver Rider," draws on Zeppelin-esque jamming and Plant's love of never-ending sonic grandeur. The Babineaux brothers' "You Can't Buy My Love," is a stab at 70s lo-fi folk but isn't exactly the stuff legends are made of. To boot, neither is the throwaway "Falling in Love Again."

But then Plant hits his stride. Gregory Vanderpool's "The Only Sound That Matters," and the traditional "Cindy, I'll Marry You Someday," are both tremendous, while Townes Van Zandt's "Harm's Swift Way," and the age-old "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down," are deeply felt and timeless. The latter especially rises to the top, utilizing spartan arrangements and a dusty, ethereal tone that makes it more haunting than anything else on the disc. The funk-jazz-soul vibe of "Even This Shall Pass Away," is a puzzling and unconventional way to end an album, but it is not without its charms.

In the end, Plant sounds more comfortable in this genre than he has on any of his past solo albums. Which posits the question, why couldn't he have embraced the roots-rock genre a lot sooner? Just imagine what Manic Nirvana could have been.

Track Listing 1. Angel Dance
2. House of Cards
3. Central Two-o-Nine
4. Silver Rider
5. You Can't Buy My Love
6. Falling in Love Again
7. The Only Sound That Matters
8. Monkey
9. Cindy I'll Marry You Someday
10. Harm's Swift Way
11. Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
12. Even This Shall Pass Away


Recommended If You Like The Cash Brothers, Loudon Wainwright, Buddy Miller, Robert Earl Keen


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Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13
08:57 AM on 09/18/10
#2
ffafan
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Great review man. Jumped on Plants solo work on Raising Sand. Definitely a late start at that. I'm gonna check out some older solo material.
10:47 AM on 09/18/10
#3
AdamChildress
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Will definitely be checking this out.
11:35 AM on 09/18/10
#4
IceAge/HeatWave
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very well written review.
02:31 PM on 09/18/10
#5
WakingTheMisery
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The Krauss album pained me to listen to.
04:46 PM on 09/18/10
#6
gr33ndayfr3ak
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I've never been too thrilled about Plant's solo work and I wish so badly that he would rejoin Zeppelin. But it's good to hear that this is one of his better solo outputs. I'll be checking this out.
Wonderful review as always, Greg
10:42 PM on 09/18/10
#7
PaperRival-Jake
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Great review indeed, but my only problem is that by the first few sentences it seems that you equate bluegrass and americana... Just confused. Still, very well written and a fantastic record....
07:54 AM on 09/19/10
#8
Gregory Robson
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Great review indeed, but my only problem is that by the first few sentences it seems that you equate bluegrass and americana... Just confused. Still, very well written and a fantastic record....
Bluegrass and Americana are pretty closely linked. Bluegrass is certainly more stripped down and traditional, but they really belong to the same family. Maybe I'm just sensitive, but it seems to me, you're really grasping at straws, mate.
05:06 PM on 09/19/10
#9
CarouselBoy
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Nice review. I was fully satisfied by this release and the single is def one of my favorite tracks
06:39 AM on 09/20/10
PaperRival-Jake
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Bluegrass and Americana are pretty closely linked. Bluegrass is certainly more stripped down and traditional, but they really belong to the same family. Maybe I'm just sensitive, but it seems to me, you're really grasping at straws, mate.
nah, just confused. I was eager to show you some great bluegrass if indeed you thought it was the same. No straws being grasped over here.
07:06 AM on 09/20/10
Gregory Robson
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nah, just confused. I was eager to show you some great bluegrass if indeed you thought it was the same. No straws being grasped over here.
I appreciate that, Jake, but I grew up listening to Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, and the Carter Family, to name a few. I'm certainly well-versed in the genre.
07:56 AM on 09/20/10
PaperRival-Jake
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I appreciate that, Jake, but I grew up listening to Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, and the Carter Family, to name a few. I'm certainly well-versed in the genre.
You're welcome, Gregory.
09:55 PM on 09/23/10
cshadows2887
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I was really surprised how much I loved this record. He's really hit his stride again his last 3 albums. Also, repping Richard Thompson is always appreciated in my book.

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