Robert Plant, Meet Alison Krauss On this new music Tuesday, we check out releases from Ryan Adams, Babyshambles and Carrie Underwood. Plus, a new collaboration project between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.


Music Reviews

Robert Plant, Meet Alison Krauss

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Hey, Ali.





BURBANK: Thank God it's Tuesday. You know, that never really caught on the way TGIF did…


BURBANK: …even though I pushed for it a lot.

STEWART: Well, that's because you have to come in to work on Wednesday, but that's another story.

BURBANK: Mm. Yeah. It's - I guess it sort of doesn't work on a lot of levels.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Well, even so, we thank God it's Tuesday, because that means all kinds of new music releases are out. The prolific and sometimes grumpy Ryan Adams has a new offering. Babyshambles, also known as Pete Doherty, also known as Mr. Kate Moss, also known as seriously dude, put down the crack pipe, he has a new record out. Carrie Underwood has a sophomore effort.

Here to talk to us about all things music today is Lizzie Goodman, editor at large of Blender magazine.

Hi, Lizzie.

Ms. LIZZIE GOODMAN (Editor, Blender Magazine): Hi, there.

BURBANK: First of all, Pete Doherty - Pete Doherty. I've seen it - it looks like Doherty, but it's supposed to be pronounced Doherty.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. I haven't gotten with that yet, but I'm working on it.

BURBANK: Because if you say Doherty, people think you don't know what his name is, but you're in the right, right?

Ms. GOODMAN: I believe that's the case. So I've been told.

BURBANK: All right. Well, let's talk about Pete Doherty's band, Babyshambles.


BURBANK: Is the - the record is called Shotter's Nation?


BURBANK: And - well, let's actually hear a little bit of that first, to give people a taste.

(Soundbite of song, "Deft Left Hand")

Mr. PETE DOHERTY (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) You seem the type to follow the line. Went from cheery vagabondage to cold blooded luxury in four years. No lick spittle or (unintelligible) from sycophant claw back flunky. I want to lay by your side.

BURBANK: Daddy like. That's called "Deft Left Hand"?


BURBANK: What do you think about this release?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, I think it's a step forward for him. I mean, people understandably have a hard time remembering why we care about him.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I'm so sure, I think - just think I've seen him on Perez Hilton. That's all I can think about him.


Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. And you know, that's really a shame, because he's actually an incredibly gifted songwriter. And I think this song, in particular, which is sort of buried at the end of this record, reminds us why he has - as a member of The Libertines, he was sort of the ramshackle, rambling wanderer guy, and Cart Barat was the guy who kept everything together. And I think when Pete writes by himself, he has a tendency to get a little too epic. He needs some structure and editing. And for some reason, he's managed to pull it together a little bit on some of the songs in this record - in particular, that one that we just heard.

BURBANK: I've really liked that song you just played. But is that representative of the record? Am I going to be mad at you, Lizzie, if I buy it and that's the only good song?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, I won't give you my address before we get off the phone. But there's - no, I think - I mean, I think, in general, this is a step forward across the board on this album from the last Babyshambles record, which had really great moments, but was definitely one of those records you might be disappointed by if you'd only heard one song that you liked. This one is more consistent, although, yeah, were - it's baby steps. Baby steps for Babyshambles.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: All right. Well, from one end of the spectrum to the other, you couldn't get more squeaky clean than Carrie Underwood. And she's got a new record called Carnival Ride. Let's take a spin.

(Soundbite of song, "So Small")

Ms. CARRIE UNDERWOOD (Singer): (Singing) And what you've been up there searching for forever is in your hands. Oh, and when you figure out love is all that matters…

BURBANK: All right. No pervasive heroine problem for Carrie Underwood, but how's the record?

Ms. GOODMAN: That we know about, no. Yeah, I think it's - you said it - squeaky clean. The record is really good. I mean, Carrie has come under fire since her, you know, sort of emergence on the scene via "American Idol" for being too pop in a country world. She really wants to be a country star. She's a country girl. It's 100 percent how she conceives of herself in and what audience she's aiming for. But she's had a lot of crossover success - not surprisingly, given her exposure on "American Idol." And this record is really an effort to sort of define herself as unequivocally country, which I applaud her for. I love country music, and she seems really, really determined to get in there and be taken seriously in the country world.

STEWART: And she wrote a good bit of this. I was reading somewhere that she would send all her - she brought all the writers on a retreat somewhere?

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. Yeah, I think that's right. I mean, I know she definitely wrote, you know, I think it's four songs, but I'd have to double check that. But yes, she's, you know, she had a major contributing role in terms of composing this record. And she's talked about that being important to her and just really sticking to her guns about keeping it true country and not rerecording some of the songs on it to suit pop radio and sort of just sticking with it. And she has reason to do that, because her previous record was a huge hit and there - spawned many singles that did well across, you know, many radio formats. So she's has some ammunition to enter the fray with on this one.

BURBANK: Okay. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss have put something out called "Raising Sand."


BURBANK: And do we have a track off of that, guys? Okay, let's hear some then.

(Soundbite of song, "Rich Woman")

Mr. ROBERT PLANT (Singer) and Ms. ALISON KRAUSS (Singer): (Singing) I've got a woman with plenty of money. She's got the money and I got the honey. Oh, my baby last night, she told me, daddy, everything was all right.

BURBANK: All right. That song is called "Rich Woman." Now, I have to say, I'm a big Alison Krauss fan. I was not aware Robert Plant was still alive. I would wonder, how's the combo work?

Ms. GOODMAN: It's a total shocking success. I don't, you know, I think it's completely understandable why fans of either of these artists might kind of raise their eyebrows at the idea that they'd be working together. But the bottom line is that they're both incredible, iconic professionals, among other things, in addition to talents. And their voices meld together incredibly well, and I think the sort of secret weapon on this album as well is T Bone Burnett's production. He had a major role in selecting the material that they would be performing on the album. Of course, you know, they were played a participating role in that as well. But he really kind of picked a lot of the songs. And his production really, I think, does a good job of flushing out what's great about each of these artists' voices and styles and allowing them to work well together.

STEWART: I just had a memory flash - well, you know, news flash and - he did The Honeydrippers, right?

Ms. GOODMAN: I believe - yes.

STEWART: So Robert Plant - remember that?

BURBANK: "Sea of Love"?

STEWART: Yeah. Remember that…

BURBANK: That was a great song.

STEWARD: Yeah. So he does have that sort of history of doing those sort of rich, melodic songs. It's just you have to close your eyes and remember Robert Plant of 30 years ago and just erase all pictures of him from your mind right now.

BURBANK: See, that's the…

STEWART: That's the tough part.

BURBANK: …the challenge.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: We can do it. We can do it.

BURBANK: Okay. Together…

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

BURBANK: On the radio, let's do it. Okay. Next up, West Indian Girl.


BURBANK: The record's called "4th & Wall." Let's hear some of "Solar Eyes."

(Soundbite of song, "Solar Eyes")

WEST INDIAN GIRL (Singer): (Singing) I know. I know. I know that you want respect. Free. Stars are so, from ebb and flow the world. We speak love…

BURBANK: These guys are out of L.A., and I guess they're sort of rock, electro punk, disco, sort of combo platter.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. They sort of meld all genres together. No, I think, I mean, they're sort of known for doing - at least at this point - kind of psychedelic California pop. But this song in particular is a little more dancy, and they've been moving in that direction a little bit. We can sort of hear that coming. And I think it's a really great track. And I like what they do in general, just it's this sort of sunny, swirling California pop sound. But this is a nice addition on this album.

BURBANK: I don't want you to put on the spot, Lizzie. And this has almost never worked, but we have a segment called Best Song in the World Today. Aside from these releases, what are you listening to? What's your nominee for best song in the world?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, I - God, that is very on the spot…

BURBANK: I don't know why I always do this.

Ms. GOODMAN: …on the spot making. Well, I'd have to say that, you know, what I was listening to yesterday was "Blonde on Blonde" and "Desire." So, you know, I'd have to go with "Desire" as best song in the world for me right this exact minute. But in terms of new music, you know, we just named some of my favorite releases coming out today. I like The Hives' new record a lot. I think that's a really good album. Obviously, the new Bruce Springsteen album is making a lot of waves and getting a lot of people talking. So those are the two things that are on my stereo that are recent releases.

BURBANK: All right. Well, Lizzie Goodman, editor at large of Blender magazine, thank you so much for coming on the BPP.

Ms. GOODMAN: Thank you for having me.

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