- In the United States, May 25 has long been designated as release day for two musicians who were not connected to Robert Plant until a couple of months ago.
- Just yesterday, the world learned of a scheduled in-studio radio interview that took place in England this morning involving Jimmy Page. And, of course, while it's not news that Page would have been asked about a possible Led Zeppelin reunion, and it's also not news that Page could not speak for anybody but himself when he said he wouldn't oppose it, media outlets have been treating it as if it is news.
- And, strangest of all, a press release distributed to the media this morning spoke of another Zep-related radio appearance, this one for several Florida radio markets and for some unstated reason joining both Plant and Jason Bonham. This last radio appearance, on the syndicated "Paul and Young Ron Show," was rescheduled at the last minute from this morning to Thursday morning.
Darrell Scott, Bettye LaVette promoting new albums
Of all the new albums that dropped in U.S. stores today, two are from artists who will be touring with Robert Plant in July.
A Crooked Road. From the moment the opening guitar phrase of the first song kicks in, it's immediately reminiscent of "Blackbird" by the Beatles. The song's melody doesn't do much to change that perception at first -- that is, until the chorus, when suddenly it's much more reminiscent of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." These are not bad songs to be inspired by! The rest of the two-disc set doesn't wear its influences on its sleeve, but what's most amazing is what a maestro Scott is. Thanks to overdubbing techniques (he rightly dedicates the album to Les Paul, an innovator in multi-track recording), he was able to play every instrument on 20 new songs, expertly weaving mandolins and guitars and banjos in and out of each other's way. On "A Father's Song," Scott sweetly name-checks his two kids. It's a beautiful piece that's sure to tug at the heartstrings of any parent, even whose children don't happen to share those names. Other highlights on the two CDs include "Long Wide Open Road," the precious "For Suzanne," and the anthemic "Love's Not Through with Me Yet." All in all, one listening to the album only to get a sense of what one member of Plant's Band of Joy sounds like on his own will not be disappointed, as long as you know to expect the B side of Led Zeppelin III and not the A side of Led Zeppelin's debut album.
Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, which includes her covers of several well-known British rock numbers, including one by Led Zeppelin -- one of the few that, by virtue of songwriting credits, won't make Jimmy Page any richer. That's because it's "All My Love," co-written by only Plant and John Paul Jones. On the surface, the veteran American singer LaVette seems to be the antithesis of Rod Stewart, the Brit with a long and storied career who's made a living in recent years by pilfering from the great American songbook (a trait in the direction our own Plant may already be headed). However, LaVette is much more than that. The songs she picked may all be British rock songs, but her voice and timing take them in a whole different direction. What's especially obvious from hearing this disc is that while she may be behind the beat, she's never late. Just listen to her cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" for the greatest example of this. She also has an amazing sensibility to her delivery, and the musical arrangements of her band add to this. You may have heard her cover of The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" as performed in the presence of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2008; that same live take closes LaVette's album. Similar musical subtleties seep into her studio treatments of "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John and even the Led Zeppelin track. (Beatles fans: Be aware that she covers "The Word" from Rubber Soul in addition to Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," George Harrison's "Isn't It a Pity" and Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy.") Overall, the disc is a very pleasant experience.
Jimmy Page promoting John Bonham radio special, and media promoting Led Zeppelin reunion rumor
Approached at the end of his BBC Radio 6 Music interview segment with the inevitable "will Led Zeppelin reunite" question, guitarist Jimmy Page answered it the only way he possibly could: by speaking only for himself.
Page was in the BBC studio this morning to promote an upcoming radio feature on John Bonham, but the headline-thieving moment apparently came at the end when presenter Lauren Laverne referenced stories that U2 may have to cancel an upcoming appearance at the Glastonbury Festival. As she mentioned, lead singer Bono has "knackered his back," undergoing emergency surgery that has led to the cancellation of a set of North American tour dates and put the band in the questionable column for the U.K. festival appearance.
Seeing a vacancy, Laverne asked the only logical question: Would Jimmy Page rule out anything in terms of Led Zeppelin reuniting to fill the vacancy, or for any other reason?
He replied, "I never ruled anything out in the future, from the O2."
This particular quotation didn't make it into initial reporting on LedZeppelinNews.com regarding Page's radio appearance, on the grounds that it didn't really contain anything new or useful to report. Such media outlets as BBC News and Gigwise disagree -- Gigwise making the guitarist's sole statement on the matter into the headline, "Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page: 'I Wouldn't Rule Out Replacing U2 At Glastonbury'; After the Irish band cancel."
Since Page was speaking only for himself, this begs the question, what would everybody else concerned have to say if faced with the same question?
Jason Bonham and Robert Plant promoting ... something?
Two of Florida's morning comedy show jocks, Paul and Young Ron, will have the opportunity to ask both Robert Plant and Jason Bonham what their feelings are on a Led Zeppelin tour on Thursday morning when the two musicians appear together for some reason that has not been publicly disclosed.
- We know that Plant has a solo tour of the Southern United States this July, including a date in Miami, where "Paul and Young Ron" is broadcast. Likewise, we know that Plant has an album coming out in the near future too.
- We also know that Bonham, a South Florida local, last appeared on "Paul and Young Ron" on Jan. 20. At that time, he was talking up the new band he was then calling Black Country, but "Paul and Young Ron" had more pressing matters to discuss: namely, whatever happened to the idea of Led Zeppelin reuniting in 2008, and what are Bonham's feelings on the local DMVs?
- Now, Bonham's promotional talking point is probably going to be something regarding his upcoming 30-date engagement in tribute to his father, the tour being called Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience.
- What Plant's role in this is unknown; it certainly is intriguing, to say the least, that Plant and Bonham are planning a joint radio appearance together. All will be revealed on Thursday, May 27.