CD Review: Robert Plant/Alison Krauss

Raising Sand Rounder
Music •••½ Sound •••½

On paper, the pairing of bluegrass angel Krauss with hard-rock devil Plant seems improbable but also intriguing. And in reality, it's just that: a hit-and-miss affair that, overall, somehow emerges sweetly triumphant. Producer T Bone Burnett helped pick the material, and it's characteristically both hip and inscrutable - mostly country-flavored old songs by the likes of the Everly Brothers ("Gone Gone Gone"), Gene Clark ("Through the Morning, Through the Night"), Townes Van Zandt ("Nothin' "), and Tom Waits ("Trampled Rose"). Weaving through Burnett's near-signature instrumental haze, Plant and Krauss fare best when he moves toward her ethereal plane, rather than Krauss trying to let loose. As such, it's the straight-ahead duets, not the solo turns, that truly resonate - none more so than the final track, "Your Long Journey," an old Doc (and wife Rosa Lee) Watson hymn so drop-dead gorgeous, you wish the whole CD started right there.

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