Bluegrass Prodigy and Rock God
From the first notes of "Rich Woman" (purchase/download the groove is set and you know this record is going to knock your socks off. Alternating roles on lead vocals, the pair light into a collaboration that marries bluegrass and groovy rock with all manner of other elements, including the ethereal and the downright folky.
Highlights From Raising Sand
"Gone Gone Gone" (purchase/download) is Elvis-style rockabilly, driven by a sweet, bouncy groove from the upright bass, contrasted with a growly electric guitar riff. Plant and Krauss' voices work together perfectly here. "Trampled Rose" (purcahse/download) sees Krauss on the lead vocals, backed by a very raw acoustic guitar track and a very atmospheric, new agey arrangement. This gives way to a quintessentially Plant-esque "Fortune Teller" (purchase/download), whose strongest asset is the clapping and "ah-ing" from Krauss in the background.
"Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" (purchase/download) is a catchy folk-rock tune where Krauss shows off the bluesy side of her voice and is backed by a very 70s-style rock groove. "Your Long Journey" (purchase/download) is a little more quintessential Krauss, with lovely harmonies and a near-gospel narrative about losing love.
The Bottom Line
What makes the record so great is that both artists stay true to their own genres while also meeting somewhere in the middle to explore entirely new areas of their respective musical talents. It works finely to turn this unexpected, somewhat strange collaboration into a real gift of an album. Easily one of the best records of the year.