T Bone Hails Alison Krauss, Robert Plant


Alison Krauss & Robert Plant photo by Pamela Springsteen, courtesy of Rounder Records.

May 22, 2008 — T Bone Burnett earned a permanent place in the country music history books as the producer of the Grammy-winning album "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" He’s also grabbed a spot on one of the hottest tours of the summer as the guitarist for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

T Bone produced Raising Sand, the album that spawned the tour, and while the pairing of Robert and Alison initially had plenty of people scratching their heads, T Bone thinks they have a natural chemistry.

"They are both full of tone," T Bone told Rolling Stone magazine. "Robert, when he was 20, had a tone like nobody else. And either of them can create a sound that would scare the pants off a normal person. The weird thing is they come from such different worlds. Alison wants the freedom Robert has, and Robert wants the restraint Alison has."

Though Alison has a tone that’s been frequently described as angelic, the tour finds the duo covering some dark and moody songs originally recorded by Led Zeppelin. T Bone sees some of the same harshness in the lyrics of the bluegrass genre, where Alison cut her teeth.

It’s there "in the murder ballads," he said. "There is something in that darkness that Alison understands. She has that in her soul. She and Robert are both soul singers."

The duo wraps up a European stretch tonight with a show at Wembley Arena in London.