If you haven’t heard Raising Sand, you’re in for a treat.

Who would have thought that we’d ever see the collaboration by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss? Who was bold enough to dream they’d perform songs by Tom Waits and Sam Phillips (the two finest tracks on the album)?

Even better, they’re joined by guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Jay Bellerose.

And the wizard behind the curtain is T-Bone Burnett, who keeps things turned down to a simmer. He holds the reins on these inspired performers so tightly that it makes the albums he produced for Gillian Welch sound positively reckless and indulgent.

But restraint is a good thing, in this case, and the harmonies that Plant and Krauss discover are like a dream.

Seems like every year produces some unlikely gem, something you just have to hear to believe. Last year, it was Seu Jorge singing David Bowie in Portuguese. This year, it’s Raising Sand. Don’t miss it.

Want to know more? Thom Jurek’s ears are as sharp as ever, and his review is up at AllMusic.

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