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Robert Plant Announces New ‘Carry Fire’ LP, Debuts ‘The May Queen’ Single

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I like his answer. Yes, but it night be something different tomorrow. Here, here!

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Robert Plant at AMA UK – Credit Chaz Brooks

At a star-studded gala evening Robert Plant was awarded the UK Americana Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Plant also picked up the Best Selling Americana Album award for Carry Fire and stole the show performing a majestic slow blues masterpiece. Chaz Brooks was there for BOON to report on the award ceremony.

The event was held at the Hackney Empire, a fitting venue for the occasion. Compared by Mr Country himself, the wonderful Bob Harris, this was no dull trade awards ceremony but a slick, stimulating, lively affair interspersed with live performances from leading Americana artists.

The event was notable for the award presenters, who included Chris Difford, Sir Patrick Stewart, BBC DJ Simon Mayo and Billy Bragg. Plant was surprised when Steve Bull, the ex Wolverhampton Wanderers and England centre forward came on to present his fellow Brummie the Best Selling Album award.

There was more music than talking, and the speeches were brief. This was a good chance to see people performing live that you wouldn’t normally go and see. All the performances were of the highest quality.

Live performances came from the energetic Robert Vincent and then one of Bob’s favourite groups The Worry Dolls. Aaron Lee Tasjan played a fabulous slow blues and broke a guitar string. Recipients of the Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award, The Wandering Hearts played their trademark track Burning Bridges. Angaleena Presley excelled and Emily Barker gave us the haunting Over My Shoulder, a song about people having to leave their homes in fear. Imelda May bewitched the audience with the emotional and autobiographical The Girl I Used To Be.

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International Artist of the Year – Courtney Marie Andrews played solo and captivated the audience with Table For One from her Honest Life LP. Mumford & Sons performed Sister unamplified and Robert Plant playing with The Sensational Space Shifters delivered a truly exceptional version of Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down. Plant and the Shifters joined Mumford and Sons together with folk fiddle legend Seth Lakeman for a rollicking folk number to close the main show.

The evening was capped by an all artist finale of Wild Flowers in tribute to Tom Petty

Full award winners were:

UK Album of the Year
I’ll Make The Most Of My Sins by Robert Vincent (produced by Robert Vincent, Michael Gay and Etienne Girard)

International Album of the Year
The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (produced by Dave Cobb)

UK Song of the Year
Home by Yola Carter (written by Yola Carter

International Song of the Year
Tenderheart by Sam Outlaw (written by Sam Outlaw)

UK Artist of the Year
Emily Barker

International Artist of the Year
Courtney Marie Andrews

UK Instrumentalist of the Year
Thomas Collison

SPECIAL AWARDS

Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert Plant.

Trailblazer Award
Mumford & Sons.

Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award
The Wandering Hearts.

Best Selling Americana Album
Robert Plant. Carry Fire

Grassroots Award
Come Down And Meet The Folks.

https://buildingourownnashville.com/2018/02/02/musical-explorer-robert-plant-gets-the-gongs-at-uk-americana-awards-last-nights-winners-announced/

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From Amelda May: Amazing night at the Americana Music Association UK Awards with an amazing man Robert Plant X.

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Wolves legend Steve Bull surprises Robert Plant with award - VIDEO

By Russell Youll

Rock legend Robert Plant was left speechless at a glittering music awards ceremony in London – when he was presented with an honour by surprise guest Steve Bull.

Organisers of the UK Americana Awards at the historic Hackney Empire knew Black Country-born former Led Zeppelin frontman Plant was a huge Wolves fan – and secretly arranged for the club’s record goalscorer to present the 69-year-old with his lifetime achievement award.

Plant was left gobsmacked on Thursday night as legendary DJ Bob Harris called Bully to the stage in front of hundreds of fans at the iconic east London theatre.

And Bull’s wife Kirsty told the Express & Star: “The organisers kept it a big secret from Robert – Steve’s name wasn’t even on the guest list as they wanted to keep it as a real surprise.

“We were just named as ‘surprise’ and we were put in a private box to watch the show away from the stage so Robert couldn’t see us.

“We couldn’t be too near the stage because everyone knew if Robert heard Steve’s accent, he’d guess immediately.

“Robert was astonished when Steve was called on to the stage to present his award.”

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She added: “It was a fantastic night – afterwards we gave the after-party a miss and we all ended up in the foyer of the Premier Inn having a glass of wine and a bag of crisps from the local off-licence with Robert Plant and his band!”

Plant was also presented with the award for Best Selling UK Americana Album of 2017 for his album Carry Fire. It has sold 54,580 copies, according to the Official Charts Company.

https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/football/wolverhampton-wanderers-fc/2018/02/02/wolves-legend-steve-bull-surprises-robert-plant-with-award---video/

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I loved that video. Been trying to work out who Steve Bull was up against for the England team place. He deserved more caps.

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A recent interview with New York City classic rock radio station Q104.3.

 

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Robert Plant Kicks Off North American Tour In Raleigh

By Jeffrey Greenblatt

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On Friday night Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters kicked-off an eleven date North American run at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina. The former Led Zeppelin frontman, who is touring in support of his most recent studio album Carry Fire, treated the sold-out crowd to a mix of material from throughout his career offering up Zeppelin classics alongside new material and traditional folk and blues tunes.

The 69-year-old singer got the night underway with a string of material from his last two solo efforts delivering takes on “New World…” and “The May Queen” from Carry Fire, while also looking to 2014’s Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar for “Turn It Up” and “Rainbow.” Plant than offered up his first Led Zeppelin tune of the night turning to the iconic band’s 1970 psychedelic-folk-tinged third release for “That’s The Way,” staying faithful to album’s version of the song. “All The King’s Horses” from 2005’s Mighty ReArranger proceeded Plant’s biggest hit in the last forty years – “Please Read The Letter.” The tune, which was originally recorded for his 1998 album with his former band mate Jimmy Page – Walking into Clarksdale, later appeared on Raising Sand, Plant’s Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss.

Plant than filled out the majority of his 13-song main set with a mix of traditional blues and folk tunes. Zeppelin fans were treated to takes on the centuries-old English folk song “Gallows Pole” and the more contemporary “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” – which they covered for their 1969 self-titled debut album. “Little Maggie,” which has its roots in the bluegrass world and Bukka White’s Delta blues classic “Fixin To Die” followed before Plant brought things to a close with a take on Zep’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” Plant closed out the tour opener with a two-song encore offering up a take on John Lee Hooker’s “I’m In The Mood” and the Led Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta Love.”

Watch fan-shot video captured by Rico Suave and check out the full setlist below:

 

 

 

https://www.jambase.com/article/robert-plant-kicks-off-north-american-tour-raleigh

Setlist
Robert Plant at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

    Feb 9, 2018 Raleigh, NC

    New World...
    Turn It Up
    The May Queen
    Rainbow
    That's the Way  
    All the King's Horses
    Please Read the Letter  
    Gallows Pole  
    Carry Fire
    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You  
    Little Maggie  
    Fixin' to Die  
    Misty Mountain Hop  

Encore

    In the Mood
    Whole Lotta Love  

---------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Plant kicks off US tour. His show ranks as the coolest musicology on the road.

By David Menconi

RALEIGH - Robert Plant will turn 70 years old this August, an age where most rock stars seem content to coast on past glories. And while the iconic Led Zeppelin frontman could get by doing that, he has taken a far different course over the past decade – crafting one of the more improbable late-career resurgences in recent memory.

Friday brought Plant to Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium to open the U.S. leg of his “Carry Fire” tour, accompanied by the aptly named Sensational Space Shifters backup band. The tour’s second stop is Sunday in Charlotte.

And while anybody who wanted to hear “Stairway to Heaven” came away disappointed, the show was indeed pretty sensational.

Plant hit a post-Zeppelin high point with 2007’s Alison Krauss/T Bone Burnett collaboration “Raising Sand,” an Americana landmark. And since then, he has seemingly dedicated himself to demonstrating that the album’s “Old Weird Americana” aesthetic can work just as well when expanded to include the rest of the world.

Friday night’s 100-minute set ranged from jam-heavy blues-rock along the lines of late-period Bob Dylan to intercontinental world-beat space-rock with a little of everything. I found myself scribbling phrases like “flamenco spaghetti-western beatbox” and “interstellar drumline” in my notebook, trying to describe various songs.

It wasn’t all change-ups, however. Some of the show’s loveliest and best-received moments were songs where Plant played it pretty straight, especially an unplugged acoustic version of the old Led Zeppelin ballad “That’s the Way.”

The soldout crowd was, of course, adoring – almost too much so, because a few people kept screaming during the quiet parts. One husky male voice yelled repeatedly, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.” And when Plant got to the “I’ve got to ramble” line in “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,” a delirious “WHOO” went up from the crowd.

You also got the sense that a lot of the crowd would have preferred more of the Zeppelin oldies. Those songs certainly received the most enthusiastic response (and the most camera time on everybody’s mobile phones).

Expectations aside, however, it was a show that ranks as the coolest musicology on the road today. Selections included Mississippi bluesman Bukka White’s “Fixin’ to Die,” during which guitarist Justin Adams did a very cool solo where he hit the body of his instrument as much as the strings; fascinating interpretations of the folk songs “Gallows Pole” and “Little Maggie”; and Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop” arranged as a hoedown fiddle tune.

The encore closer was “Whole Lotta Love,” another Zeppelin song that Plant has put through some changes on past tours. This version started out pretty straight up before veering into more idiosyncratic territory with a fiddle solo and sea-shanty chorus of “Santianna” that Plant threw in between verses (“Heave her up and away we’ll go, down to the Gulf of Mexico”).

Then it was back to that signature dive-bombing guitar riff. Sometimes, after all, you just wanna rock.

http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/article199479734.html

 

 

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Looks like he's lost a bit of beef since last year.

Anybody know if Plant is in a relationship again?

 

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3 hours ago, Strider said:

Robert Plant sounds pretty happy and comfortable where he is right now. This is from the Toronto Star a couple days ago.

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2018/02/11/robert-plant-has-a-sensational-new-band-so-why-would-he-get-led-zeppelin-back-together.html

Nice article and interview with Robert.  He knows what he wants and what makes him happy and probably one of the ways to sum up things for him now. 

 

Thanks for sharing Mr. Cali! :D

As much as I love his music, showmanship in his concerts, plethora of musical influences and musicianship their are times his music can bore me to an extent!  I can't figure this out and it's only been with the SS and SSS that I feel this way. I can't explain it, but their is some element of his music that is missing to grab my interest more and sustain it!  What is it and wish I knew as perhaps, you (Sean) may have the answer!  And don't say JP!

 

 

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He doesn't want to talk about Zep during the 50th anniversary??

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With Robert Plant, the song never remains the same

By Stephen Humphries Globe correspondent  February 14, 2018


It’s the last question of the interview. The one that this reporter has been dreading to ask Robert Plant. After a gulp of breath, the words tumble out: “On the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin, what is your fondest memory of the chemistry and camaraderie between the four of you?” There’s a second’s pause over the phone line and then the singer starts to laugh . . . and laugh . . . and laugh.

Until then, it had been going so well.

Plant’s publicist forewarned that the singer may feign memory loss in response to this question. (That might have been preferable to the laughter.) The rock star, who plays a show at the Orpheum Friday night, is often reticent to talk about the colossus of a band he fronted between 1968 and 1980. He’s not one for nostalgia. Plant articulated that ethos in the 2005 song “Tin Pan Valley” when he sang, “My peers may flirt with cabaret/some fake the ‘rebel yell’/Me — I’m moving up to higher ground/I must escape their hell.”

That desire not to be defined by the past, coupled with an innate artistic curiosity, fuels the singer’s intrepid post-Zeppelin career. Plant is more comfortable talking about “Carry Fire,” the critically acclaimed album he recently made with his longtime band, the Sensational Space Shifters.

“I was just carrying on in a jagged line using the musical ideas that we had started to develop and then taking them on a stage further,” says Plant, who produced the record. “Just bit by bit piecing something together that is evocative and has some kind of mystic lope to it.”

Plenty of artists talk about changing up every album, but few do so to the extent of Plant — each of his 11 solo records is distinctly different. “Carry Fire” exemplifies his pioneer spirit. Its songs find liminal connections between Appalachian bluegrass, Saharan blues, Celtic folk, Arabian trance, West Coast psychedelic rock, and British trip-hop. The band’s five musicians aren’t called shape shifters for nothing. Several songs also showcase guest viola player Seth Lakeman, one of Britain’s biggest folk music stars.

“He really relished the idea of moving over a step from his characteristics that he normally employs when he does his own shows,” Plant says. “He really did add something to the tracks, never more intensely than the track ‘Carry Fire.’”

The title track’s smoldering sensuality flares up with a Lakeman solo whose scorching effect lingers like a vapor trail.

“He’s still coming up with new material that’s as exciting as something that was written in 1969,” enthuses Lakeman, who has since been recruited as a touring member of the Sensational Space Shifters and will also open the shows by playing his new album “Ballads of the Broken Few.” “He hasn’t got a huge ego. He’s one of the hugest rock stars in the world. When you’re hanging out with him he’s like one of the lads having a drink.”

The album features another distinguished guest: Chrissie Hynde. The charismatic leader of the Pretenders (one of the few people who can rock a leather jacket as stylishly as Plant) duets on “Bluebirds Over the Mountain,” a ballad about a long-distance relationship that was popularized by the Beach Boys and Ritchie Valens.

“There’s a sort of wistful nature to the song,” Plant says. “It needed somebody else, the other side of the romance, to come into it as almost an answer to this worry and concern about whether or not this is going to work. She’s got such fantastic character in her voice. You never get one demi, semi quaver that’s not necessary.”

During “Bluebirds Over the Mountain,” Plant deploys one of the ejector-seat wails that were his stock-in-trade with Led Zeppelin. When the singer turns 70 this summer, his powerful throat won’t have any trouble blowing out all the candles on his birthday cake. But these days the vocalist’s most dynamic range lies in his ability to convey intimate emotions. On “A Way with Words,” Plant picks at the memory scars of a failed relationship and lets confessional asides hang in the air. The surprise of “Carry Fire” is how often this most progressive of artists looks back, for once, to take stock of his life now.

“It’s quite cathartic,” he says. “It’s me, surveying the scene that I’m in. I guess the adventures in romance, there’s a great sort of flourish and great harvest. Sometimes the harvest has many colors. I think about Roy Orbison or even George Jones or Charlie Rich — great, white singers in that great kind of melodramatic, romantic character.”

Plants also revisits a different kind of past — world history — on several protest songs including “Carving up the World Again . . . a Wall and Not a Fence.” The lyrics contextualize the global backlash against today’s immigrants and refugees as a cyclical phenomenon that arises out of nationalism.

“I don’t know how old a country’s got to be before it stops being a pathway or destination for people who are on the move. The United States encouraged more and more central and Eastern Europeans, who were already being hounded out in different eras and periods of time, to come and populate this magnificent land,” muses the singer. “People are on the move for their own betterment and their own opportunity. Nobody said that the world was sacrosanct for any group of people to say, ‘This is mine, keep out.’”

In 2016, Plant joined Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, and the Milk Carton Kids on the Lampedusa tour, a revue-style benefit for refugees worldwide.

“For me it was the charm and the absolute beauty of those voices. Steve Earle’s records quite often don’t do him justice as a live singer. He’s got such a great tone,” Plant marvels. “I’m not part of that movement of great musicians and singers so, for me, it was just such a trip.”

He’s being modest. Plant made a splash in the Americana music world with “Raising Sand,” the 2007 blockbuster he recorded with Alison Krauss, and his 2010 alternative-country album “Band of Joy.” During his career, Plant has pulled off more unpredictable moves than Bobby Fischer. What he hasn’t done is reunite Led Zeppelin for a tour, though he did organize a one-off show for charity in 2007. But his reluctance to embrace nostalgia shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of pride in what he achieved with bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and drummer John Bonham. After all, he includes radically rearranged Zeppelin songs in his shows.

Once Plant stops laughing at how he can’t get through any interview without his past getting dredged up, his voice softens.

“Some of those fantastic festivals in the early ’70s were magnificent because we were playing under remarkable circumstances,” he reminisces. “You fell afoul to all sorts of technical issues and stuff but we just played through the whole thing and just laughed! That’s what it was about. Kick ass, until it became a slog. So the early days were something that I really relished as four guys almost bending down against some invisible weather.”

Now, as then, Robert Plant still tosses back his curls, uses the microphone stand as a fulcrum, and changes the weather inside concert halls with vocal squalls. But he’s less interested in stardom than just being a part of the fraternal bond of the Sensational Space Shifters.

“You can’t just turn up and become ‘that guy.’ It’s a lonely place to be for a singer to be just there, waiting to get in the way of musical passages. How do I spend my time during a two-hour set? Well, a lot of the time I am watching and listening to what my brothers are doing.

“It’s a great affinity that we have. We keep it going because everybody does other things when they feel like it and so will I. Who knows what’s around the corner?”

ROBERT PLANT at the Orpheum Theatre, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: From $49.25, www.ticketmaster.com

https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2018/02/14/with-robert-plant-song-never-remains-same/UZ0o6jnSBo3VfnpSmcEWXN/story.html

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http://torontosun.com/entertainment/music/we-cant-hold-our-breaths-forever-says-robert-plant-of-zep-50th-anniversary-reunion

 

As British rock giants Led Zeppelin celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, lead singer Robert Plant reflects on the good times, (not the) bad times, of what he likens to a former marriage.

“It’s 50 years since I got married and sadly I only managed 13 of those,” joked Plant, 69, referring to Zep’s 1980 breakup after drummer John Bonham died.

“So it is kind of 37 years since I got divorced. And the marital status of the music, yeah I guess it is something like sometime this September we (first) got together in a room.”

First up is the March 23 re-release of Zep’s 2003 triple-disc live album, How the West Was Won, followed by a new coffee table book by the remaining three members in October.

More importantly, Plant, who brings his latest solo tour (with the Sensational Space Shifters) to Toronto’s Massey Hall on Saturday night for the only Canadian tour stop of his Carry Fire trek, says no one should hold their breath for a Zep reunion.

“It’s (2017’s) Carry Fire and that’s it really,” said Plant. “You’ve got to stay in the groove of ceaseless creativity. When I sang the way I did when I was 17 or 18, when Bonzo, my buddy played the way he did with me, we just did what we did. And that’s what I do now and I think that’s the way forward. (Bassist) John Paul Jones is finishing off his opera, he plays with Them Crooked Vultures. Everybody does what they want to do. And if it becomes incredibly exciting inside the gold mine, so be it. But we can’t hold our breaths forever.”

We caught up with the singer down the line from a New York hotel.

Zep guitarist Jimmy Page has promised “all manner of surprises,” for the 50th anniversary including another live album re-release. Can you spill?
There’s a lot of stuff rolling around. It’s a bit like water in the bottom of a paddle boat. But the thing is we didn’t even play together ‘til September so we have a couple of months to connect and say, ‘What’s going on?’

But hopefully the impact of the band will be recognized?
It should capture the whole impact that we were oblivious to in the beginning where it was like a ground moving, ground shaking thing going on and interestingly we were so close into it that we didn’t even feel the tremors to begin with. And that’s a great thing before bands lock into a public persona or anything like that. So that kick off, 50 years ago, was something great, unexplainable, and so full of power and energy. It was brilliant.

In the meantime, Carry Fire continues your love of Americana. Does that affect your performances which have both solo and Zep material?
That means the way you play either has to be tempered according to that, or in my case, I couldn’t give a hoot. I just do what I do. That’s it. It’s a good time to be me because I haven’t dropped the ball at all. I just keep trying to open up the inside of, I suppose, a combined gift. Because the band and myself have sort of got this thing going on, which is really powerful.

And what was it like working with Chrissie Hynde on a cover of Bluebirds Over the Mountain on the latest album?
I realized that my voice all the way through was not enough. It wasn’t exactly (Zep’s) Battle of Evermore but it needed a response from a female. And I think Chrissie’s got beautiful, great character in her voice and the vocal effect and her timing and phrasing is special. She’s what they call in America, ‘a pistol.’

So many artists from the classic rock era have announced farewell tours recently. Will you know when the right time is for you?
There’s no such thing as knowing when. Look there’s so many different ways of expressing one’s self and doing what I really love to do. The thing about retirement is that you can retire for a month or a week or a day or you can just go to the movies and call that retirement and come up inspired. Send some of these people to some beautiful places where there is lovely music and they’ll probably change their mind.

Are you getting more political as songwriter with a new tune like Carving Up the World Again…a wall and not a fence from Carry Fire?

I don’t think what I’ve sung about is at all unusual. It’s what everybody talks about on the street. There’s a lot of grumbling and mumbling going on but in high places there’s not a lot of opposition in the Senate or wherever it is. The voice of reason just seems to be stifled.

 

 

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On 2018-02-13 at 7:34 PM, Strider said:

Robert Plant sounds pretty happy and comfortable where he is right now. This is from the Toronto Star a couple days ago.

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2018/02/11/robert-plant-has-a-sensational-new-band-so-why-would-he-get-led-zeppelin-back-together.html

Great interview.

 

Tomorrow night Massey Hall Toronto .....bring it on!!

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Chicago Tribune - February 16, 2018
by Dan Hyman

Robert Plant is hell-bent on making the most of his remaining years. “You’ve got to keep moving,” says the 69-year-old Led Zeppelin singer who when calling on a recent morning from New York City, while en route to a chess lesson, excitedly explains how in in the nearly 40 years since his most famous band’s dissolution he’s been on a “rampant search” and an ongoing “quest for creating great sound.” “I’m told you get a certain time in your life to do something and then after awhile maybe you just start repeating yourself,” Plant says, but the renowned singer has no intention of following that path.

It’s why Plant, who plays the Riviera on Tuesday, has made it a priority in recent years to remain open to new and unexpected creative collaboration. “I’m always changing the picture,” the Welsh singer says before noting how in the past 15 years alone he’s veered from 2007’s “Raising Sand,” a sweet and shadowy Grammy-winning collaboration with the bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, to 2010’s “more psychedelic and trippy” “Band of Joy,” recorded with an entirely new band and assistance from close friend Buddy Miller and former girlfriend, Patti Griffin. Beginning with 2014’s “Lullaby… and the Ceaseless Roar,” and continuing with last fall’s “Carry Fire,” Plant reunited with a diverse collection of world musicians, dubbed the Sensational Shape Shifters, many of whom he’s worked with in various capacities for nearly 20 years. “But it starts with the will to combine various little bits and pieces of ideas that constantly appear,” Plant explains of what binds together his various projects. “Just keep exploring this amazing workshop of ideas and sounds and idioms.”

“Carry Fire” draws from Plant’s longtime equal-parts embrace of Celtic, roots and Middle Eastern music, and it’s also one of his most timely works to date: “Bones of Saints" is an anthem against mass shootings while “New World” attempts to make sense of the unfortunate human impulse towards xenophobia. “Out here the immigrant takes hold/ Across the plains and over mountains/ Put flight to all who came before/ They're barely human,” Plant sings in his trademark banshee howl.

To hear him tell it, Plant’s search and passion for musical discovery is hardly a new phenomenon. The soft-spoken singer recalls traveling to Bombay, India (now Mumbai) in 1971, with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, and being utterly inspired by the sights and sounds of the then-foreign land. “Page and I ended up there with a small orchestra with a two-track Revox tape recorder recording “Friends” and “Four Sticks,” he says referencing a pair of Zeppelin songs that appear on the band’s third and fourth albums, respectively. “Apparently we were the first European rockers to play in Bombay. We went to this club and I played drums, Jimmy played guitar. We did ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and other songs like that. It was all very fun.”

“There’s all sorts of music everywhere,” Plant says, “and everybody of a certain stature is always looking for the next hike into the next great musical adventure. I just figure, considering I was supposed to just be a rock singer I’ve been very fortunate to modify what I do and give bits and pieces of my energy to people to change it around a bit.”

A prime example, he says, was his participating in the 2016 Lampedusa benefit tour alongside Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and the Milk Carton Kids to raise awareness of the refugee crisis. Not only was it for a good cause, he says, but Plant recalls how the stripped-down nature of the performances allowed him to utilize his notoriously versatile voice in thrilling new ways: “It was so moving to sing with such beautiful voices around me and for me to play and sing where there’s nowhere to hide.”

Even Plant however will admit some of his classic-rock contemporaries — many of whom seem perpetually on a greatest-hits tour with songs made famous several decades back — have not taken the same course as him. “Older musicians who get famous for one thing, I think they all want to do different things,” he says. “But if you’re not on the pipeline or if you can’t hear the subterranean drumbeat it’s not quite so easily found.”

As for the constant speculation and media hype about a potential Led Zeppelin reunion tour — a prospect only amplified by the group’s remaining members reuniting for a one-off benefit show in 2007 to honor late Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun — Plant can only laugh. As he sees it, by Zeppelin disbanding following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980, they’ve better preserved their legacy.

“The reason that I feel strongly abut the beauty of Led Zeppelin and that other people do too is because we didn’t overblow it,” Plant says. “We didn’t end up getting a new drummer. We didn’t end up really going into super cliche characters lumbering along. If your heroes continue in the same vein forever the whole thing is just taken for granted and it becomes some dreary old Tin Pan Alley that needs some new blacktop. We knew that Bonham was irreplaceable. By bowing out at the right time we didn’t mess it up.

“Nobody in the band really knew what the hell we were about at all anyway,” Plant says with a laugh. “You can hear those Zeppelin songs and there’s quite a lot of naivete. I don’t think I’ve sang about Gollum or Frodo for about what seems to me about 47 years and yet still I’m castigated for it.”

Plant says he has no plans to slow down anytime soon, but he feels it’s not entirely his decision. “If there’s no creative renaissance then you don’t write new songs. And if you don’t write new songs then you must think about doing something else with the years that are left.” “Plus,” he adds with a laugh, “if I couldn’t do any of this anymore I’d just be following my soccer team.”

Dan Hyman is a freelance writer.
Twitter @chitribent

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave.
Tickets: $69.75; 773.275.6800 or www.rivieratheatre.com

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