Album of the Week: Robert Plant, 'Carry Fire'

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Robert Plant, 'Carry Fire'
Robert Plant, 'Carry Fire' (Courtesy of artist)
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Let's face it, I can't be objective about this review. As the lead singer of one of my favorite bands of all time, Led Zeppelin, I've shared more good times and bad times with this man's voice than any other. It's admirable that he resists the constant pull of doing another re-union with that band and continues to forge on, building a creative solo career that has spanned eleven albums now.

In interviews he's quick to give credit to his band The Sensational Shape Shifters, who all work on other projects in his down time and come together with him to compose as a band. They do a great job here, weaving the many musical influences that he's used in the past, a strand of Americana, rhythms from North Africa and the Middle East, and even a searing guitar riff that his buddy Jimmy Page might be proud of on the second track, "New World". Robert's voice sounds awesome and his writing is spot on, dealing with romance in a non-cliched way, the process of aging and sharing of wisdom and on two tracks in particular, "Carving Up The World Again" and "Bones of Saints" struggling to understand the geo-political mess that we're in right now.

It's also noticeable that the record is paced and laid out to be listened to as a whole, an old school album that will definitely find its way on to my Top Ten of the year. It starts with perhaps the best track, although I find myself wondering if I say that because it sounds like one of Zep's pastoral acoustic songs, which I always enjoyed. There's that riffage on track two designed, perhaps, to suck in the doubting Zep fan. Then it builds majestically through the next four songs, where he shows his "way with words", on the beautiful piano ballad of the same name and culminates in the title track #7 which vies, appropriately, for best song honors. The only misstep is a lyric that does sound a little cliched on #10 'Bluebirds Over The Mountain', so tightened up by one track and it would have been perfect!

At 69 he is certainly deserving of The Lifetime Achievement Award that has just been announced by the Americana Music Association UK. Think about it, who else of his generation is still making new music as vital and accomplished as this? He now has an enormously deep back catalog, including some of those hoary old Zep tunes which he has been known to spike into his live set. This should make for a spectacular show for all those who snapped up the tickets to his Orpheum Theater show on February 22, 2018, which sold out in a matter of minutes.

Resources


Robert Plant - Official Site

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