Paging Jimmy Page! Robert Plant won’t be returning your call for a Zeppelin reunion anytime soon. He’s having WAY too much fun with his new (old) venture: Band of Joy.
This project and the name are products of the past, re-imagined with an all-new cast of characters. Expanding on his mandolin and Dobro-soaked journey with Alison Krauss and her band of bluegrassers, Plant travels deeper down America’s roads. If the first journey was nourished by sweet tea, this one comes with a mug or two of moonshine.
Plant’s grizzled visage resembles the lion from The Wizard of Oz more and more each day—and it could be argued that it takes more than a little courage to go into territory remote from the banshee wails and moans of Led Zep. But his inner GPS is working, as 2007’s Raising Sand was a magnificent and critically acclaimed project. Band of Joy finds Plant continuing to explore American sounds and roots with a slinked-up voodoo groove. Psychedelic folk, if you will.
Patty Griffin plays the Alison Krauss role this time, and her harmonies wrap themselves around Plant’s vocals like ivy. He has likened his vocal assignation with Griffin to “the Andrews Sisters on acid.” (And that girl can rock some hips!) The extraordinary Buddy Miller, an instrumental player in the world of Emmylou Harris, is on board with guitar and more, and several other Nashville names round out this cracklin’ band.
It’s quite possible you won’t recognize many of the songs on the set list—and the ones you know (the Zep re-dos) won’t be obvious at first. “Houses of the Holy” is slowed down and honky-tonked up with slide guitar snaking through it, while “Rock and Roll” is all Creedence’d up. At least one or two songs from the Krauss era and even one from the Plant solo, Now and Zen, are on the menu.
The North Mississippi Allstars will open this show. Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson come from an American music-infused lineage, and you may know Luther from his other band, the Black Crowes. Their Southern rock-blues jam style will set the tone for a night of swamp-meets-hills music.
When: Jan. 26, 8 p.m.
Where: Tower Theatre, 69th and Ludlow streets, Upper Darby
Tickets: $79.75-$101.50. Visit livenation.com.