Plant and Krauss, who are up for five Grammy awards next month, have contributed their Record of the Year-nominated track, "Please Read the Letter," to the CD. Its release on the Rhino label is to benefit the Recording Academy's two charities, the MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation.
"Please Read the Letter" was written by Plant with Jimmy Page and their two bandmates in the late 1990s, and they released it on the Page-Plant album Walking into Clarksdale in 1998. Plant's second attempt at it, released nine years later on the 2007 album Raising Sand with Krauss, lowers the tempo and replaces the sound of Page's electric guitar with the bluegrass star's fiddle.
Plant and Krauss are reportedly slated to perform during the televised Grammy awards ceremony to be held Feb. 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. As the winners are announced, they will learn whether or not Raising Sand has earned the status of Album of the Year -- and whether or not they have repeated last year's victory in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.
By then, the two will supposedly have begun on their second album together. They are said to be gearing up for recording sessions taking place next week at a Nashville studio. (Update: This was confirmed in a Jan. 13 report at CJDCcountry.com that is no longer available but whose contents are archived at the Plant fan site Manic Nirvana.)
It was in that city that their collaboration was born, under the tutelage and guidance of T Bone Burnett. Their producer is also said to be resuming that role in this month's sessions. Plant, when he gave the first official confirmation of an intended return to the studio with Krauss this month, said Burnett would be involved.
An early revelation of dates booked for the Plant-Krauss recording -- and of plans for possible summer tour dates -- came last month on the Internet discussion group Royal Orleans, when a user named "Zepp-4-Life" posted the following:
Just got home from dinner with the owner of Rounder records. For those that don't know , that's the Plant / Krauss label. So, the scoop is they are beginning recording sessions on January 12/13. The first sessions feature most of the same musicians from Raising Sand. T-Bone once again is the driving force and has apparently chosen most of the tracks. The songs being considered were sent to Rob and Allison only weeks ago. Rob and Allison will choose a song or two each for the production. Nashville is the meeting ground for the first studio sessions. Not sure which studio , but it was cool to hear how it all goes down. Rounder records basically pays for all costs on whatever they produce. My " friend " just sent the cheque last week for all expenses. Following the new CD , a small tour is planned. A 15 to 20 city tour is all they are expected to do. Summer dates are being negotiated. In addition , it is confirmed that Rob and Allison will perform at this year's Grammy's. That's all I can say for now. It's valid and real."Zepp-4-Life" added in a follow-up post post that the source of his information is Ken Irwin, cofounder of Rounder Records.
Tour dates in 2009 would negate a statement issued on Plant's official Web site in September that "Robert has no intention whatsoever of touring with anyone for at least the next two years."
All I'm going to say about that is, hmmmmm.
Also in Plant news:
- Buddy Miller, who played guitar and pedal steel on the Plant-Krauss tour last year, has a new album with his wife, Julie Miller, due March 3. Titled Written in Chalk, it is to include Plant guest-singing on the track "What You Gonna Do, Leroy," written by Mel Tillis and originally performed by Lefty Frizzell.
- Plant will likewise feature on the album Elsewhere by Scott Matthews, also to be released in March (Update -- It is now pushed back to May 18). Matthews, a self-proclaimed Led Zeppelin III enthusiast, wrote the song "12 Harps," which will include Plant on vocals. Matthews told the Galway Advertiser in Ireland last month, "I got to know [Plant] before recording the second album and I had a song in mind for him called '12 Harps.' It has leanings towards acoustic Led Zeppelin with mandolins."