In a charming interview with Switched On Pop podcast host and songwriter Charlie Harding last December, Robert Plant adapted a famous quote: “talking about music,” the Led Zeppelin lead singer mused, “is like dancing about architecture.” It seemed to be his way of politely fending off Harding’s sort of stiff academic  approach to inquiring about Plant’s new record with singer Alison Krauss of Americana and roots music covers – the duo’s second, in some 14 years – especially with regard to an analysis of their song selection process.

“So Charlie,” Plant suddenly asks, turning the interviewer’s table about halfway through the episode, “do you ever just sit down and let the music just take you? There’s something really interesting,” he explains, “about when [Alison Krauss and I] get together, finding songs. Very very seldom it’s not a unanimous lure, to these particular pieces of music.”

In Harding’s defense, the amazement and awe are arguably natural reactions when contemplating these two larger-than-life icons of pop music lore, who along with the storied producer T Bone Burnett have exclusively comprised their own singularly mellow roots-rock supergroup — a musical partnership that transcends both generation and genre as these unlikely conspirators explore material as venerable, intimate, and often dark as this. Considering the profoundly rich collection of influences and musical tradition that had impacted and shaped the remarkable bodies of work of both singers, it’s admittedly sort of a wonder that they could ever have settled on the two handfuls of cuts covered on 2007’s Raising Sand, and follow-up Raise The Roof – recorded just pre-pandemic, but released last November.

Of the 12 they chose for the latter record (okay, 14 if you indulged on the special “Target deluxe edition” or whatever), the duo omitted precious few at their perfect-summer-Sunday-night appearance at the Mann Center, enriching their setlist with several selections from their first record including “Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson,” opener “Rich Woman,” their well-known cover of “Fortune Teller,” penned by the late Allen Toussaint, as well as three Everly Brothers songs.

Of course, three Led Zeppelin favorites were featured too, all culled notably from their 1971 untitled fourth record. At 73 now, the still-golden-maned Plant may have lost a dance step or two as he posed rock-heroic alongside the gracefully beaming Krauss, but neither missed a note all night, with a harmonic vocal chemistry never better highlighted than their cover of Zep’s ballad of Middle-Earth, “The Battle Of Evermore,” with Krauss’ soaring Sandy Denny part a seemingly effortless rivalry for Plant’s legendary wail.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
The Mann Center
  • Rich Woman
  • Quattro (World Drifts In)
  • Fortune Teller
  • The Price Of Love
  • Rock And Roll
  • Please Read The Letter
  • Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson
  • High And Lonesome
  • Last Kind Words Blues
  • You Led Me To The Wrong
  • Trouble With my Lover
  • Go Your Way
  • It Don’t Bother Me
  • Leave My Woman Alone
  • The Battle Of Evermore
  • When The Levee Breaks
  • Gone Gone Gone
  • Stick With Me Baby
  • Can’t Let Go
  • Somebody Was Watching Over Me