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The Pagemeister

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

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Interview – Robert Plant

https://www.bluesmagazine.nl/interview-robert-plant/

There are stars, superstars and even megastars. Then there is Robert Plant, a guy who is, or has been, all three of them together, and who remains at the very top of the universal musical tree. Refreshingly, speaking with a relaxed Plant, on the near-eve of the release of his latest album, ‘Carry Fire’ on Warner/Nonesuch, the man himself is a genuine delight, a man with no axe to grind, no self-obsessed front to maintain, no precious barriers that all too often seem to come with the fame. Much to my relief, Mister Plant is an instantly likeable, friendly, chatty sort-of guy next door. Exactly the kind of guy you feel you’ve known most of your life. Which, if you’ve been listening to music for much of it, is pretty much the case.

Catching up with the man himself, he is enjoying the beauty of the misty Welsh Mountain hill country, an area he is constantly drawn towards and where he clearly feels completely both at home and at ease. We joke about local highlights, having both lived in the area off and on for many years, about his love for a local tipple (a brand of organic Herefordshire cider) and then move on to the music and his love of life, travel, discovery and musical experiment and excitement.

‘About three weeks ago I was driving in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near Fez. I was listening to FM radio when suddenly this wonderful music came on and I had to pull in, stop, and grab my phone so I could record it. It was fantastic,’ he says, highlighting his love of music and his own receptive nature to it generally.

In many ways, this is probably a typical example of Plant’s thinking and his open-to-all-new-music-vibe way of working and thinking. Still repeatedly, and unnecessarily, viewed as Mister Led Zeppelin, since leaving the legendary band many years ago Plant has been carving out an immensely successful international solo career that has seen him gather huge international acclaim in the ever-harsh, demanding world of Nashville Americana with Alison Krauss and Band of Joy, where their joint efforts produced ‘Raising Sand,’ a release that swept the boards at the Americana Grammy end of the business and delivered clear evidence of a questing talent and voice that was up for more, much more, than just rock’n’roll music.

If Plant still has a whole lotta love, it’s without doubt a passion focussed firmly on the music itself. Describing his current thinking and where he sees himself, he evidently remains locked into the possibilities of music and its power to move and excite:
‘This is not a job,’ he laughs in all seriousness. ‘It’s love, a love affair. A pleasure, a passion, pulsing to the heartbeat of music. To be thrilled still. Hearing something that’s new. Something that still has the power to grab you, to literally stop you in your tracks; having to swallow hard, to hold back the tears, because of the beauty of the music,’ he explains with pleasure and the delight of fresh discovery. Who’d’a’thunkit?

For Plant, music and its iridescent rhythms and rippling waves are what life is all about. There is no self-satisfied feeling or suggestion here. This is a musician who has ears always open, searching expectantly and knowingly for the next explosive surprise. A man who seems always to have the power to explore, ignite and excite. A musical flame few can match or carry with such evident passion or commitment.

Once again currently working with his band of musical brothers, the Sensational Scene Shifters, Plant is quick to correct me when I suggest they are a ‘support band’: ‘They’re no support band. We all support each other. They support me and I support them. We work together as one, as musical equals. We each know now what the other might be thinking or about to do. It’s organic and immediate, a real musical understanding,’ he confirms. This time round the band is joined on tracks by young English folk-musician, Seth Lakeman, whom Plant adds, will be touring with them all later this year.

‘We’ll be working hard with the new album, on the road, where he seems to belong in many ways. I’m really looking forward to that,’ he says. And when I ask if the touring and travel doesn’t become onerously tiring, and if maybe age might begin to take its toll in that respect, he again swiftly rejects such thoughts: ‘I only do what I want to do and I love the touring and playing.’

Plant describes his current musical interests as being attuned to ‘music from the earth,’ by which he seems to mean world-music or indigenous, organic, roots music of whatever colour or stripe. Turning to his latest recording, ‘Carry Fire,’ (read the review here) we talk about the use of an electric oud as a lead string instrument, a heady change from driving electric guitar or blistering string-bending fretwork:
‘With the oud it really is music from the earth,’ he explains. ‘Because it’s fretless, there’s only one way to go with it and that’s got to be the right place. It’s delicate but with complexities. There’s shades of TBone Walker coming through, like Chuck Berry,’ he believes. ‘It’s all part of a musical journey, a way of life.’
‘I remember at TBone’s funeral, Chuck Berry went up to TBone’s daughter and told her that if it hadn’t been for her late father, he wouldn’t have had a job. Music is really so important, central to life itself. I get that. I’m in much the same position myself,’ he quips.

Looking back on his time with Alison Krauss, Band of Joy, and the world of modern Americana generally, a connection that gathered world-wide plaudits including multiple Grammy awards in 2009, Plant is happy to have moved on, hinting that the Sensational Space Shifters seem more open to fresh musical influences, inspirations and experiences:
‘It all became, well……just too American, if you know what I mean. Playing with Alison and Band of Joy was a joy. It was wonderful, a great time. We all enjoyed it, I know. But it was all centred on Nashville, Music City. They were never as keen on travel, as me. I still love getting out on the road, seeing and meeting new people, new cultures and experiences along the way. With Band of Joy it was different, more a studio band, maybe. They just didn’t have the same gypsy in them as I have, always happy to be out on the road working.’

And he also confirms that there is at least one more possible album he has squirrelled away in his personal archives from his time with the band. When I ask we’re likely to hear it any time soon by being put out on release, Plant is mildly cautious: ‘I have a second Band of Joy album but I’m not sure if it will see the light of day.’
And with a guy like Robert Plant there are always more than a few surprises in store. One track on the new ‘Carry Fire’ album harks back to an earlier age, a time before even rock’n’roll was king. From the mid-fifties, ‘Bluebirds over the Mountain’ is nothing short of simple, pure Rockabilly at heart. When I ask about this somewhat surprising inclusion Plant snorts with laughter and clear pleasure:
‘I love the song. Pure and simple. I’ve been singing it most of my life. I’ve been doing the song since I was a kid. It’s sort of cheery, part of the roundabout of life. I always pull it in at some time, maybe during rehearsals with every band. I can almost hear them all collectively groan, “Oh, no. Here we go again.” I always loved the Ritchie Valens version, I used to sing it at home in the West Midlands as a kid and I still enjoy singing it now,’ he jokes.

On the latest newly recorded version of the number, Plant is joined by a surprise guest on vocals, ex-Pretender, Chrissie Hynde. ‘Chrissie has such a beautiful voice. She fitted the song perfectly, giving it a cheery sort of bounce,’ he says.

But while Plant jokes about adding upbeat songs from his childhood to the mix, he always remains firmly and fully focussed on the need to keep up to date, to be open to new sounds and interests:
‘With music there’s got to be a sort of intimacy. The music might be old, traditional or whatever, but it must always be interesting and moving, emotive at times. I can put my spin on it, but not in a way that’s ever fraudulent. You have to be true to the vision, true to the music at all times. It doesn’t have to be fraudulent in any way. It’s always possible to make enough of an individual noise, I think. These songs are about what we do. They have a sort of synthesised good-feeling about them, I hope. They can be tender, moving, touch a spot. Music and my love of it is a given, it’s not going to go away.’

Considering his latest offering, and the writing process with the Space Shifters, Plant is in a philosophical mind frame: ‘The album was all done in a natural way. Someone will lead with an idea and we all add a bit, till we all end up in the same place. These days music – at least, how I see it – is like a Lingua Franca. Because of what we play and how we play it, the depth and kind of music we do, we’re never going to have to play, say, a night-club or even a strip-club sort of place. Everybody now knows the groove. In the 1960s, before Zeppelin was Zeppelin, there were great numbers of people around in London, in particular, interested in each other and their individual cultures. There was an open, supportive, mutual interest, that seems to be harder to find nowadays. I’m no anthropologist, I’m not trying to say I’m like Sir Richard Burton, but I’m intrigued by other cultures and their music. Music carries the message. If you listen to some of the African rhythms and instruments, they’re totally amazing. And yet, we all share this same musical love and foundation. Whether we’re in Africa or London or the Middle East, music has a sort of universality; a power to move and affect your life. I worry at times about an alienation that seems to be developing but I’m always optimistic about the music.’

In every way Robert Plant remains an iconic musical figure, no simple frontman or totemic figure-head, he is clearly central to the musical world he inhabits and roams the world with an open eye and ear, always aware of the possibilities that might just be waiting around the next corner. Nothing appears to be musically taboo to this guy, save perhaps thoughts or suggestions of a Zeppelin reunion, a subject we never broached, despite the near-constant media speculation. After all, Plant has been a soloist for something now approaching forty years during which time he has shown himself to be a towering musician with a huge global appeal and outlook. The time for backward glances are long gone, and Plant himself shows absolutely no interest or suggestion of ever looking back. There’s simply too much new, fresh stuff out there to be mined and explored.

 

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Robert Plant hasn’t forgotten his past. He’s just not going to live in it.

By David Bauder
Associated Press
October 14, 2017

NEW YORK - The question hangs over an interview with Robert Plant, an obligation for the journalist and a depressing inevitability for his subject. Might as well get it over with.

Are you ever going to make music again with Alison Krauss?

All right, so there are probably other questions. The downside — admittedly small — to having an illustrious past in the music world is that many fans want you to live in it. Today, it’s easier and more lucrative for artists to recycle work and jog pleasant memories from the stage. For some, it’s the only way to earn a living.

The former Led Zeppelin singer has the luxury of choice and, at 69, he’s chosen to dwell among the handful of artists producing challenging new work late in their careers. His album “Carry Fire,” which was released Friday, continues his collaboration with a band whose name, the Sensational Space Shifters, speaks to its versatility. Plant’s voice is a more intimate instrument now although he shows, in a duet with Chrissie Hynde, that he can summon the old wail.

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Its a great LP. So many influences. Keep it Hid is my new favourite and what is fascinating is the live sounds is just a wonderful but not a carbon copy of the LP. Great that he is happy to push boundaries and take artistic chances.

Also from reading other posts. I am so pleased that the younger version of myself kept all of my vinyl.

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17 hours ago, anniemouse said:

Not sure if you can see this outside the UK;

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5GcDLwKrnGS8Y8LSt5jwCtl/memory-tapes-october-2017

Tubby The Tuber - Danny Kaye

Love Me - Elvis (Robert sang this WITH ELVIS because “what you going to do?”)

Eighteen Hammers - Johnny Lee Moore

Don't Start Me Talking - Sonny Boy Willamson (“it swings like crazy”)

Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane (Grace Slick "gave me a kick to immerse myself more in that idiom..that early psychedelic rock”)

On the Danny Baker show around 1 hour in 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0978cvj

 

Yeah I was able to view it in my area and enjoyed it thanks anniemouse as well as for the other links and things that I might have missed without you and others help! :thumbsup:

7 hours ago, zeplz71 said:

Was this one posted already?

Anniemouse  gave a heads up yesterday but definitely thanks for re-posting it zeplz71 I really enjoyed it as well as the other articles like the bluesmagazine article. :thumbsup: Hope I'm not sounding like a broken record too much with all the thank you's but I love it. :)

 

 

 

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Oh can someone verify that Robert is doing a Facebook Q&A tomorrow at 2pm ET (that should be 6pm GMT)

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4 hours ago, anniemouse said:

Oh can someone verify that Robert is doing a Facebook Q&A tomorrow at 2pm ET (that should be 6pm GMT)

yes...

RP will be doing a Facebook Live interview with Noisey Editor-in-Chief Eric Sundermann on Monday, October 16, at 2 PM ET! Got questions? Leave them in a comment below. And tune in to Facebook.com/RobertPlant Monday at 2pm ET to watch live.

rp-fb-live.jpg

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15 hours ago, sam_webmaster said:

yes...

RP will be doing a Facebook Live interview with Noisey Editor-in-Chief Eric Sundermann on Monday, October 16, at 2 PM ET! Got questions? Leave them in a comment below. And tune in to Facebook.com/RobertPlant Monday at 2pm ET to watch live.

rp-fb-live.jpg

Can someone ask Robert (if there is a town hall q&a format today as I won’t be able most likely to listen in live)

Question: what can be done moving forward about RP Verified Fan presales with Ticketmaster (aka Stubhub)?

Many of us in the US got left out/ excluded from floor seats (as most floor tickets at the start of fan presales were already gone gone gone from Ticketmaster’s site at same time their Stubhub site had inflated prices for floor tickets). I along with many others around, attempted in good faith with (Chase, Amex, Citi) any possible credit card presale options, too with same results. It was a fiasco.

There are currently only 12 US/N America 2018 dates.

Question: Will any more cities be added? Example: Atlanta, GA or Florida??? And if so, what measures can be taken to ensure an equitable opportunity/ level playing field for purchase?

thanks,

R😎

Edited by reids

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Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

ON SALE: 20TH OCTOBER 2018 AT 10AM AEDT

rp-australia2018.jpg
 
The legendary singer of Led Zeppelin returns to Australia along with his band, The Sensational Space Shifters. With a new album ‘Carry Fire’ out October 2017, and the incredible 2018 milestone; marking 50 years since Led Zeppelin’s first self-titled album was released, it promises to be a powerful show, that’s not to be missed for any true fan.
 
Formed in 1968, Led Zeppelin went on to become one of the most iconic and beloved bands in music history. Songs such as “Whole Lotta Love”, “Black Dog” and “Stairway to Heaven” became anthems that are still revered by music lovers of all ages.
 
The Led Zeppelin era ended in 1980 when John Bonham died. Since that time, Plant has put his wide-ranging musical fascination to good use on solo albums, such as 2007’s Raising Sand, which Plant made in collaboration with Alison Krauss that won six Grammy® Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.
 
The Sensational Space Shifters are his latest project, first established in 2002 they are a loose band "inspired by the roots music of Mississippi, Appalachia, Gambia, Bristol and the foothills of Wolverhampton and drawing on influences collected in a lifetime of meander and journeying."
 
Robert Plant’s new album, ‘Carry Fire’, will be released October 13.  Plant talks about creating new work after 50 years in the music industry:
 
“It’s about intention, I respect and relish my past works but each time I feel the lure and incentive to create new work. I must mix old with new. Consequently, the whole impetus of the band has moved on its axis somewhat, the new sound and different space giving way to exciting and dramatic landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation”.
 
Each night on this tour of Australia, Robert Plant will take audiences on an incredible journey through his unique musical life. These shows will include rare performances of some Led Zeppelin hits in intimate spaces that will allow fans to experience the full power of his epic vocal prowess.
 

ROBERT PLANT AND THE SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS PRESENTED BY THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Monday 26th March, 2018 - Sydney Opera House
sydneyoperahouse.com 

Tuesday 27th March, 2018 - Sydney Opera House
sydneyoperahouse.com 

BLUESFEST TOURING PRESENTS ROBERT PLANT AND THE SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS

 Sunday 1st April, 2018 - Palais Theatre, Melbourne
ticketmaster.com.au (136 100)

 Monday 2nd April, 2018 - Palais Theatre, Melbourne
ticketmaster.com.au (136 100)

 Optus Perks exclusive presale starts now for The Palais in Melbourne and ends 9am Wed 18th October. Head to optusperks.com.au or ‘Perks’ in the My Optus app.

 Sunday 8th April, 2018 - Riverside Theatre, Perth
ticketek.com.au (13 28 49)

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will also appear at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018 on Friday 30 March 

--

 

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1 minute ago, anniemouse said:

Anyone else unable to access the facebook interview

 

Try this direct link:

 

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I got to see some of the interview through Chrome IE just failed to connect.

 

Thank you for the help Sam.

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I like the new album. "Carry Fire" is a Robert Plant album...with all that implies. It seems noisier and more raucous than the previous album, which was pretty mellow. But if you are pining for Led Zeppelin II or Plant screeching "Black Dog" '70s-style, then you probably won't like this record.

After a few listens, I haven't sussed out a favourite song yet...though that one with all the Oud playing is a cracker. Love Chrissie Hynde lending her voice to "Bluebirds Over The Mountain".

Looking forward to the tour.

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After the first few listens my favorite track is probably still Bones of Saints, but that is because lyrically and musically it reminds me of tracks on Mighty Rearranger, my favorite Plant record of all.  Lyrically, Bones builds on Another Tribe, which is an astonishing track.  I hear guitar riffs and tones straight out of Mighty Rearranger the song in Bones of Saints.  May Queen is a delight, along with New World, Bluebirds (Chrissy Hynde adds to it), Keep it Hid (shades of Mighty Rearranger lp keyboards), and Carry Fire.  I do wish that one or two tracks would do the radical dynamics that Plant perfected on the amazing Tin Pan Valley.  For some of these tracks I thought was where he was going.  For example, Carry Fire is great, but it could have been really something if at some point it blasted off like Tin Pan Valley.   In Bones Plant shows he could still do that kind of thing, and the band here is more than capable of it.  Well, Plant might not be able to go full Tin Pan Valley, but that was 12 years ago.

I am sure the disc will continue to grow on me.  These are just initial impressions.  I did hear bits that sounded like Yo La Tengo, Radiohead, and U2 in some tracks.  Carry Fire even has glimpses of the old 60s psychedelic band Jimmy used to talk about, Kaleidoscope.     

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Finally got the album, somehow I didn't preorder this time. What can I say!? I think it's really great, the songs might not be as vocally melodically formed as on the previous one or a few before, but I'm glad in the last fifteen years Plant almost became Bob Dylan, I think it's important for the whole legacy, after all he is the lyrics writer for Led zeppelin as well. And the album has got great melodic textures, layers, collage of sounds, violins, electronica, a bit of bluegrass, psychedelia, loops and all sorts of influences. I think it's really original and creative, Robert certainly never let's down in truly being an artist and following his own muse and he almost completely abandons a Led Zeppelin sound now whatever it was, especially when compared to late eighties albums and some are not going to like it that much, but it's really good!

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Plant life Robert Plant on being a happy-go-lucky football fan, a dad and his wardrobe of personalities

The one-time swaggering, full-throated Led Zeppelin frontman releases new album Carry Fire which demonstrates a restless man of the world with serious questions about what’s going on

By Simon Cosyns

IMAGINE the lifestyle of a rock god... five-star hotel suites, private jets, Cristal champagne on tap.

So Robert Plant, one-time swaggering, full-throated Led Zeppelin frontman who wore impossibly tight jeans, what are you doing this weekend?

“I’m heading to Burton-on-Trent to watch the Wolves play away,” he laughs, throwing back his shaggy mane of greying blond curls.

The main thing that sets 69-year-old Plant apart from most of his peers is that he keeps his feet on terra firma.

The life-long Wolves fan, and honorary club vice-president along with his heroes Steve Bull and Ron Flowers, is loving the current Championship season.

nintchdbpict000360588531.jpg?strip=all&w

His gold and black team are sitting pretty at the top of the table... “although we did lose miserably to Sheffield Wednesday,” he’s at pains to point out.

“And the guy who scored was an ex-Wolves player we couldn’t wait to get rid of!”

Plant’s love of the beautiful game yields this telling insight: “Music is almost an intimacy that I creep back into.

“It’s for the other me that has always existed in parallel to this happy-go-lucky football fan, proud dad and now proud grandfather.”

No doubt his trip to Burton was accompanied by a pint or three of the local ale, for the singer has always preferred beer and boozers to anything more salubrious.

These days he’s partial to a drop of Neck Oil, a popular craft beer produced by his son Logan’s rapidly expanding Beavertown outfit.

“Neck Oil is my favourite one of his. That’s called the session beer, a gentle five per cent, but there’s a really good one called Gamma Ray with a bit more bang to it,” he informs me.

“My son makes a lot of beer these days. He can’t stop. He, like me, is surrounded by fantastic people and makes for a great front man.

“He may be there at the vanguard of this (craft beer) stuff along with his pals but his dedication to variety and taste is insane.”

Widening the chat to all his offspring, he adds: “It’s a good family. The kids are following their dreams and they’re ably doing it under their own steam. They could wait for me to croak... but that’s not happening.”

I’m meeting Plant in his North London local, naturally, to mull over his latest album, the richly atmospheric, worldly-wise Carry Fire, his first since 2014’s Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar.

It’s the latest chapter in his forward-facing career and explains why a Led Zeppelin nostalgia fest remains an unlikely prospect.

“Hang on, what’s the date?” he asks when the inevitable reunion question pops up. “September 29,” I tell him.

His thoughts turn immediately to his great Black Country mucker, late Zep drummer John Bonham.

Plant says: “Well, John died 37 years ago. The date of his passing was a few days ago.

“You can’t pitch yourself at another era because you HAVE to be as good as that might have been.

“You have to be responsible artistically, creatively and you have to believe in everything that you do during that performance.”

Basically, he’s suggesting that if he, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones got back together minus the powerhouse that was Bonham, they couldn’t do their younger selves justice.

“So who would we be performing for exactly? Ourselves?” he says, putting the subject to rest.

One nod to the old days is Plant’s opening track on Carry Fire, The May Queen.

nintchdbpict000360588562.jpg?strip=all&w

Led Zep devotees will know she gets a mention in Stairway To Heaven but there the comparison ends.
Another reminder of times past is his duet with musical soulmate Chrissie Hynde on a cover of Bluebirds Over The Mountain... because he gets to sing his favourite word “baby” one more time.

“I haven’t done enough of that for a while,” he muses.

“In 1972, I think somebody in the back of Melody Maker counted the number of ‘babys’ that were uttered on one of our albums.

“As a kid, I was into the Ritchie Valens version of Bluebirds Over The Mountain. It’s stunning and so simplistic.

“I was born in 1948, so in the middle of everything else happening today, what a relief to just sing a song that goes, ‘Bring my baby back to me’.”

So how come he was joined by the indomitable Ms Hynde?

“We’ve always been aware of each other and our individual bodies of work,” he says.

“I knew the song needed a voice with some allure and she’s got truckloads of it.

“She’s brilliant, she’s inflammatory. She ploughs her own furrow and she’s got a style that is so unique and beautiful. She’s a wonderful, delicate toughie.”

Plant’s albums tend to weave a rich tapestry of sound, incorporating rock ’n’ roll, folk, soul, North African rhythms, subtle washes of electronica and those incomparable vocals.

This time out, his band the Sensational Space Shifters led by long-time cohort Justin Adams, are joined by folk singer and fiddle maestro Seth Lakeman on three tracks.

“Seth’s brought cheer and eloquence,” says Plant.

“And also his knowledge of folk music, which means he can teach us some stuff. It’s not exactly Fairport Convention!”

There’s also a distinct Bristol vibe because of that city’s trip-hop pioneers like Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky.

“It’s all the trippy s**t, the drum and bass stuff,” says Plant.

“Bristol’s a very lucky place to come from, a real 21st century city. There’s more of a rub between black and white music.”

Carry Fire also bears the influence of another of Plant’s haunts, rural Wales, with scenery that summons mysticism, romanticism and love of nature.

This harks back to the bucolic atmosphere of Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp from Led Zeppelin III, named after a cottage he shared with Page to get away from the mayhem.

He says: “My latest contributions were conceived along those small rivers on the Welsh borders, the Arrow, the Lugg and the Teme. Those places unlock me, open me up.

nintchdbpict000360588515.jpg?strip=all&w

“I drove down from Aberystwyth yesterday and for the first two hours I was in raptures. I had my dog in the back and we had the windows open and I thought, ‘Look at this, it’s heaven.’

“You follow the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons and the colours and the resonance changes your mood.”

Plant is and has always been a hopeless romantic and this is borne out by ethereal new ballad Dance With You Tonight.

Like so many songwriters, he’s unashamed that love is a familiar theme in his work. “One of the best ones was Rain Song in Zeppelin,” he says.

“Because it was so beautiful, the music just told me what to write.”

Yet on Carry Fire, there’s a new element to Plant’s lyricism, created by his dismay at a world going off the rails.

It’s not overt finger-pointing but it demonstrates this restless man of the world has serious questions about what’s going on.

He describes Carving Up The World Again... as a “very quick glimpse at what we’ve had to do because we have no faith in mankind. We’re strange animals because we can do so much good.

“I heard this morning that someone is intent on colonising Mars, the red planet, and yet if that’s possible, how come we’re not able to take in the ebb and flow of humanity, brother to brother, side by side, the different languages? We haven’t got things right so people are ready to bail.”

More questions are posed on the fired-up Bones Of Saints which looks at who buys the bullets, who sells the guns. “And yet we know very well that if there were no armament factories, nothing would be happening,” says Plant.

“We have to watch it all like some prolonged TV serial... somebody in an opium den somewhere writing the next episode.”

Another song, New World, is about “colonialism, imperialism” and speaks for all humanity yet was specifically inspired by Plant’s time in Austin, Texas, where he lived with then girlfriend, singer Patty Griffin.

There he learned about the plight of the Comanche people and their leader, Quanah Parker, how they were driven out of Texas to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which then became a massive US military base.

Plant found visiting the fort “a crippling” experience.

“In the middle of it all, past the McDonald’s and the movie halls and once you’ve gone through the wire fences and presented your passport, you come to the graves of the Apache scouts.

“There you will also find the grave of Quanah Parker yet nobody from his tribe can visit because of where it is.”

Finally, we return to Plant’s own situation, what drives this single-minded artist.

“You know, this is not a career,” he says.

“It’s an assembly of remarkable gifts and experiences.

“If I’m going to weave some words around three or four-minute pieces of music, it’s got to be what’s going on in me and around me.

“I’ve tried a lot of guises as a man and it’s been like having a wardrobe of attempted personality changes.

“They’ve all had great flurries and flushes... then sometimes the wheel spins...”

I can’t help interjecting: “You really have had an amazing life.”

“Apparently,” he replies.

“I’d like to find out what the f*** has been going on!”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/4724773/robert-plant-new-album-carry-fire-led-zeppelin/

 

 

 

 

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On 15/10/2017 at 9:17 AM, zeplz71 said:

Interview – Robert Plant

https://www.bluesmagazine.nl/interview-robert-plant/

There are stars, superstars and even megastars. Then there is Robert Plant, a guy who is, or has been, all three of them together, and who remains at the very top of the universal musical tree. Refreshingly, speaking with a relaxed Plant, on the near-eve of the release of his latest album, ‘Carry Fire’ on Warner/Nonesuch, the man himself is a genuine delight, a man with no axe to grind, no self-obsessed front to maintain, no precious barriers that all too often seem to come with the fame. Much to my relief, Mister Plant is an instantly likeable, friendly, chatty sort-of guy next door. Exactly the kind of guy you feel you’ve known most of your life. Which, if you’ve been listening to music for much of it, is pretty much the case.

Catching up with the man himself, he is enjoying the beauty of the misty Welsh Mountain hill country, an area he is constantly drawn towards and where he clearly feels completely both at home and at ease. We joke about local highlights, having both lived in the area off and on for many years, about his love for a local tipple (a brand of organic Herefordshire cider) and then move on to the music and his love of life, travel, discovery and musical experiment and excitement.

‘About three weeks ago I was driving in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near Fez. I was listening to FM radio when suddenly this wonderful music came on and I had to pull in, stop, and grab my phone so I could record it. It was fantastic,’ he says, highlighting his love of music and his own receptive nature to it generally.

In many ways, this is probably a typical example of Plant’s thinking and his open-to-all-new-music-vibe way of working and thinking. Still repeatedly, and unnecessarily, viewed as Mister Led Zeppelin, since leaving the legendary band many years ago Plant has been carving out an immensely successful international solo career that has seen him gather huge international acclaim in the ever-harsh, demanding world of Nashville Americana with Alison Krauss and Band of Joy, where their joint efforts produced ‘Raising Sand,’ a release that swept the boards at the Americana Grammy end of the business and delivered clear evidence of a questing talent and voice that was up for more, much more, than just rock’n’roll music.

If Plant still has a whole lotta love, it’s without doubt a passion focussed firmly on the music itself. Describing his current thinking and where he sees himself, he evidently remains locked into the possibilities of music and its power to move and excite:
‘This is not a job,’ he laughs in all seriousness. ‘It’s love, a love affair. A pleasure, a passion, pulsing to the heartbeat of music. To be thrilled still. Hearing something that’s new. Something that still has the power to grab you, to literally stop you in your tracks; having to swallow hard, to hold back the tears, because of the beauty of the music,’ he explains with pleasure and the delight of fresh discovery. Who’d’a’thunkit?

For Plant, music and its iridescent rhythms and rippling waves are what life is all about. There is no self-satisfied feeling or suggestion here. This is a musician who has ears always open, searching expectantly and knowingly for the next explosive surprise. A man who seems always to have the power to explore, ignite and excite. A musical flame few can match or carry with such evident passion or commitment.

Once again currently working with his band of musical brothers, the Sensational Scene Shifters, Plant is quick to correct me when I suggest they are a ‘support band’: ‘They’re no support band. We all support each other. They support me and I support them. We work together as one, as musical equals. We each know now what the other might be thinking or about to do. It’s organic and immediate, a real musical understanding,’ he confirms. This time round the band is joined on tracks by young English folk-musician, Seth Lakeman, whom Plant adds, will be touring with them all later this year.

‘We’ll be working hard with the new album, on the road, where he seems to belong in many ways. I’m really looking forward to that,’ he says. And when I ask if the touring and travel doesn’t become onerously tiring, and if maybe age might begin to take its toll in that respect, he again swiftly rejects such thoughts: ‘I only do what I want to do and I love the touring and playing.’

Plant describes his current musical interests as being attuned to ‘music from the earth,’ by which he seems to mean world-music or indigenous, organic, roots music of whatever colour or stripe. Turning to his latest recording, ‘Carry Fire,’ (read the review here) we talk about the use of an electric oud as a lead string instrument, a heady change from driving electric guitar or blistering string-bending fretwork:
‘With the oud it really is music from the earth,’ he explains. ‘Because it’s fretless, there’s only one way to go with it and that’s got to be the right place. It’s delicate but with complexities. There’s shades of TBone Walker coming through, like Chuck Berry,’ he believes. ‘It’s all part of a musical journey, a way of life.’
‘I remember at TBone’s funeral, Chuck Berry went up to TBone’s daughter and told her that if it hadn’t been for her late father, he wouldn’t have had a job. Music is really so important, central to life itself. I get that. I’m in much the same position myself,’ he quips.

Looking back on his time with Alison Krauss, Band of Joy, and the world of modern Americana generally, a connection that gathered world-wide plaudits including multiple Grammy awards in 2009, Plant is happy to have moved on, hinting that the Sensational Space Shifters seem more open to fresh musical influences, inspirations and experiences:
‘It all became, well……just too American, if you know what I mean. Playing with Alison and Band of Joy was a joy. It was wonderful, a great time. We all enjoyed it, I know. But it was all centred on Nashville, Music City. They were never as keen on travel, as me. I still love getting out on the road, seeing and meeting new people, new cultures and experiences along the way. With Band of Joy it was different, more a studio band, maybe. They just didn’t have the same gypsy in them as I have, always happy to be out on the road working.’

And he also confirms that there is at least one more possible album he has squirrelled away in his personal archives from his time with the band. When I ask we’re likely to hear it any time soon by being put out on release, Plant is mildly cautious: ‘I have a second Band of Joy album but I’m not sure if it will see the light of day.’
And with a guy like Robert Plant there are always more than a few surprises in store. One track on the new ‘Carry Fire’ album harks back to an earlier age, a time before even rock’n’roll was king. From the mid-fifties, ‘Bluebirds over the Mountain’ is nothing short of simple, pure Rockabilly at heart. When I ask about this somewhat surprising inclusion Plant snorts with laughter and clear pleasure:
‘I love the song. Pure and simple. I’ve been singing it most of my life. I’ve been doing the song since I was a kid. It’s sort of cheery, part of the roundabout of life. I always pull it in at some time, maybe during rehearsals with every band. I can almost hear them all collectively groan, “Oh, no. Here we go again.” I always loved the Ritchie Valens version, I used to sing it at home in the West Midlands as a kid and I still enjoy singing it now,’ he jokes.

On the latest newly recorded version of the number, Plant is joined by a surprise guest on vocals, ex-Pretender, Chrissie Hynde. ‘Chrissie has such a beautiful voice. She fitted the song perfectly, giving it a cheery sort of bounce,’ he says.

But while Plant jokes about adding upbeat songs from his childhood to the mix, he always remains firmly and fully focussed on the need to keep up to date, to be open to new sounds and interests:
‘With music there’s got to be a sort of intimacy. The music might be old, traditional or whatever, but it must always be interesting and moving, emotive at times. I can put my spin on it, but not in a way that’s ever fraudulent. You have to be true to the vision, true to the music at all times. It doesn’t have to be fraudulent in any way. It’s always possible to make enough of an individual noise, I think. These songs are about what we do. They have a sort of synthesised good-feeling about them, I hope. They can be tender, moving, touch a spot. Music and my love of it is a given, it’s not going to go away.’

Considering his latest offering, and the writing process with the Space Shifters, Plant is in a philosophical mind frame: ‘The album was all done in a natural way. Someone will lead with an idea and we all add a bit, till we all end up in the same place. These days music – at least, how I see it – is like a Lingua Franca. Because of what we play and how we play it, the depth and kind of music we do, we’re never going to have to play, say, a night-club or even a strip-club sort of place. Everybody now knows the groove. In the 1960s, before Zeppelin was Zeppelin, there were great numbers of people around in London, in particular, interested in each other and their individual cultures. There was an open, supportive, mutual interest, that seems to be harder to find nowadays. I’m no anthropologist, I’m not trying to say I’m like Sir Richard Burton, but I’m intrigued by other cultures and their music. Music carries the message. If you listen to some of the African rhythms and instruments, they’re totally amazing. And yet, we all share this same musical love and foundation. Whether we’re in Africa or London or the Middle East, music has a sort of universality; a power to move and affect your life. I worry at times about an alienation that seems to be developing but I’m always optimistic about the music.’

In every way Robert Plant remains an iconic musical figure, no simple frontman or totemic figure-head, he is clearly central to the musical world he inhabits and roams the world with an open eye and ear, always aware of the possibilities that might just be waiting around the next corner. Nothing appears to be musically taboo to this guy, save perhaps thoughts or suggestions of a Zeppelin reunion, a subject we never broached, despite the near-constant media speculation. After all, Plant has been a soloist for something now approaching forty years during which time he has shown himself to be a towering musician with a huge global appeal and outlook. The time for backward glances are long gone, and Plant himself shows absolutely no interest or suggestion of ever looking back. There’s simply too much new, fresh stuff out there to be mined and explored.

 

Ah yes the band the Sensational Scene Shifters.

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The album starts off a little slow to me..."May Queen" is kind of okay but not a great song. But "Carry Fire", "Bones of Saints" "Carving Up the World...", "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" lift this album to higher ground.

As one who loved "Mighty Rearranger" and consider it among Plant's best albums ever, "Carry Fire" continues in that vein. It helps that he has Justin, Skin, Baggot, and the rest of the SSS along...the same band that played on "Mighty Rearranger".

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Anyone else get a "Far Post" vibe from the bridge of Bones of Saints?  I dig this tune.

So far the title track is my favorite.  Would work great live going into Calling to You. 

I love Blue Birds Over the Mountain , the video is petty cool also.

 

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2 hours ago, tmtomh said:

Nice - thanks for the link!

 

53 minutes ago, anniemouse said:

Thank you for the link.

Right on...very welcome 

Pretty cool interview,  hope there's more to be aired on his show.

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