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Plant's Band Of Joy Masterfully Nuanced
With Band Of Joy, Robert Plant takes another journey on yet another path away from both his Led Zep days and his more modernist offerings between then and now. Backed by some of Nashville’s very best studio players, Plant has chosen songs from a variety of composers and bands both well and lesser known. Pieces from writers as diverse as Los Lobos, Townes Van Zandt, Richard Thompson and the writers of Low are mixed in with some traditional tunes and a single Robert Plant song, co-written with Buddy Miller who shared production duties with Plant. The song selection, and the ordering of them, is absolutely brilliant.Angel Dance opens the album, and this release definitely feels like an album, and from the opening few bars you realize that this is going to be something very different again. Plant certainly possesses one of the best voices in rock history, and certainly used his very ample chops and range during those Zep days. On Band Of Joy, he uses the richness of his voice and the wisdom and insights gained from a lot of years of living, to interpret songs. He sings as the best Nashville players play; never over performing the song. Thompson’s “House Of Cards” follows the opening Los Lobos cover, and by the third number, Plant and Miller’s “Central Two-O-Nine”, the subtly and nuance of Plant’s vocal treatments and the cohesive beauty of the assembled players is clearly obvious.This album is one of those which suspends time and your awareness of what else might be happening around you. There are more than enough stylistic twists to keep it musically interesting, while still retaining a true band sound. The abilities of all the players are hinted at, but kept percolating on the surface rather than boiling over. The entire offering is an exercise in understatement that honors the song in every case and at every turn.Definitely an exceptional CD, one that will bear many listening well. Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy is aptly named, as it delivers compelling storytelling by a master storyteller whose nuanced interpretation is embraced and presented whole by this wonderful band.