It's sometimes easy to forget there was another side of Led Zeppelin one of quiet introspection and mysticism; music steeped in traditional arrangements and quite acoustics. So it should come as no surprise when seventies rock god Robert Plant does a duet album with contemporary blue grass queen Alison Krauss. Still, this collaboration is an odd one, perhaps because of the generational thing (Plant is 23 years her senior) more so than differentiating musical backgrounds. Whatever the case, Plant and Krauss fully compliment each other here. When one is singing lead, the other perfectly harmonizes most notably on the album's slower cuts: Rowland Salley's "Killing the Blues;" the two Gene Clark songs "Polly Come Home" and "Through the Morning, Through the Night;" and the Arthel and Rosa Lee Watson obscurity "The Long Journey." Krauss shines on the more reflective pieces, though it's too bad that her mind-blowing fiddle playing is underutilized, only making sporadic appearances throughout the record. Plant excels when the duo tackles the more uptempo numbers: The Everly Brothers' "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)" and the often covered Allen Toussaint song "Fortune Teller." Seemingly coming out of left field, Raising Sands is a stirring and delightful collaborative effort, although at times it tries to hard to sound "rustic." But that's like saying there's a small bruise on a big, delicious looking red apple; it's trivial.
Rated 4 out of 5