The first indications of what Robert Plant will do in 2010 have now been reported. Freelance writer Tom Netherland gets his scoop published in the Herald Courier, in a feature on one of the musicians reported to have played on recording sessions with Plant in Nashville just before Christmas.
"Look for Plant's Buddy Miller-produced album later this year," Netherland writes, nonchalantly dropping the first official confirmation published anywhere that the former Led Zeppelin singer was indeed working with Miller in Nashville shortly after Plant hand-wrote and signed the lyrics that fetched $2,225 for the Americana Music Association.
The musician profiled in Netherland's piece, published Feb. 11, is singer-songwriter Darrell Scott, "who played such instruments as mandolin and glockenspiel" for the forthcoming Plant album. He is one of a few key players in a tight-knit band appearing on the record, Netherland reports.
While the other musicians comprising Plant's new studio lineup have not been identified, Scott does provide a few insights from the sessions. One is the revelation that Plant was singing classic songs including "Cindy," a traditional bluegrass number also recorded and performed under the title "Get Along Home, Cindy."
In the article, Scott discusses his impressions of working with Plant in the studio. He tells Netherland:
"Those two-plus weeks were some of the most memorable times I've ever had in the studio. ... The number-one thing is that Robert loves music. You think they're posing and just getting through it, but I was humbled with how Robert Plant loved the music -- old country, blues, rockabilly."Scott has an album of his own on the way, tentatively a double album called A Crooked Road. In the meantime, his latest disc was Modern Hymns, released in 2008 by Appleseed Recordings. That album includes an appearance by Alison Krauss.
Back to Love, the latest album by fellow American singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman. She will be alongside Plant onstage as his next scheduled live set, at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London, takes place Feb. 25 and creates a musical first for Plant: namely, performing onstage with a 72-voice choir.
That ensemble is the London Oriana Choir, which featured on Chapman's DVD release If Love Could Say God's Name, released in England in 2007.
The occasion is a concert called Sound & Vision, with funds to be raised to support the charity Cancer Research UK. The show is also scheduled to see sets from David Gray and Newton Faulkner. A patron of the charity, BBC Radio 2 DJ "Whispering" Bob Harris, is set to host the evening.
Harris, when he was host of BBC television's The Old Grey Whistle Test, interviewed Plant backstage at a Led Zeppelin concert in Brussels, Belgium, on Jan. 12, 1975. That historical moment is included on the official Led Zeppelin DVD, released in 2003.
Plant is quoted in a statement offered by the charity's publicity firm earlier this month. He says:
"Performing at Sound & Vision is something I'm really excited about. Cancer Research UK is a very worthwhile cause, and when Bob asked me to get involved I didn't hesitate. My set is quite different from anything I've ever done before, as I'll be performing with Beth and a full choir on stage. Cancer is a disease that affects so many people and Sound & Vision is a great way to raise money to fight it."Harris also issued a statement on Plant's participation, saying:
"I'm thrilled and proud that Robert Plant is taking part in this year's Sound & Vision. We have a lot of history together -- he even performed an impromptu gig for my 60th birthday party -- so it's great to have him on board. It's truly inspiring to see him and so many other respected names from the music and photography industry come together to help raise money for Cancer Research UK's lifesaving work."Three days remain in an eBay auction for two tickets to the event plus an official program autographed by Plant.
Chapman says she is looking forward to her performance with Plant:
"I'm so excited about performing at Abbey Road with Robert Plant and a 72 voice choir on Feb 25th! Also be performing will be David Gray & Newton Faulkner. It's to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It's going to be some night!"