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These songs may be the most personal of Plant’s career.He has had a rather tangled love life, and recently broke up with singer Patty Griffin who he lived with in Austin, Texas, to return to his native Midlands, and the album addresses notions of home and family, the tensions between love and art, embracing the concept of the musical life as a vocation.I guess the only thing missing are the words hocus pocus.” Plant chooses words carefully, with a playful sense of the possibilities of language, weaving around subjects with a quality of private delight.He talks of trying to conjure “amazing curves and twists”, exults in the music’s “loop and sample and crunch,” and celebrates the “passion, endeavour, humour and kinship” of a band he describes as “a kind of commonwealth”.But when at last, two hours late, we start our talk, she seems happy, relaxed and firing on all cylinders, though she occasionally rubs her chin hard.She's a trouper, is Amos; and, as she says, people have worse pain to contend with.His absolute pleasure in the music that he is making, and the people he is making it with, is apparent. The brotherhood is magnificent.” At 65, Plant seems as engaged by music as ever. “I can get a discount for my season ticket at the Molineux (home to his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers), and they send it without so much as a 'how do you do’.
He says that eclectic, inventive, world-music-influenced guitarist Justin Adams “saved my life, musically.Robert Plant stands in the bright sunshine, eyes scanning a sunlit pedestrian square in Birmingham, while people pass on by, oblivious to the presence of one of rock and roll’s great frontmen.“I’ve been around so long I can be easily ignored,” he notes, with twinkly amusement.Following hugely successful adventures exploring roots Americana on 2007’s award winning Raising Sand (with Alison Krauss) and 2010’s Band Of Joy, Plant returned to the UK in 2012 to link up with guitarist Justin Adams and members of the Strange Sensation band who played on Plant’s acclaimed solo albums, Dreamland (2002) and Mighty Re Arranger (2005).With the addition of Gambian master musician Juldeh Camara and jazz drummer Dave Smith, the renamed Space Shifters have been touring the world for 18 months whilst recording their album.
“Robert would rather play Led Zeppelin with his own band, not with his old band members,” Page grumbled to me in May.