2017 album with the Sensational Space Shifters.
On his 11th solo album, Plant reflects on the experiences, the emotions and the sounds of where he’s been, and he ruminates on where he—and our world—might be headed. Bittersweet songs of love remembered and of time passing, are juxtaposed against cautionary tales, of people and nations that have failed to learn the familiar lessons of history.
“I’ve filled many British passports,” says Plant. “It’s like I’m just moving through the spheres. I feel like a mariner who has spent so much time in so many different ports of call, experiencing so many different adventures and scenarios. So perhaps this collection is more ‘pictures at twelve’ rather than ‘pictures at eleven’.”
Plant has never been idle since Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 and he flung himself into a solo career with his debut album ‘Pictures At Eleven’ in 1982. In eleven years he released six solo albums and then in the 90s got back together with his old songwriting partner Jimmy Page for two albums before returning to his solo career in the early 00s. His biggest post-Zep album was his unlikely collaboration with US country star Alison Krauss ‘Raising Sand’ in 2007 which boosted both of their commercial standings. This new album is his second for Nonesuch Records.
On ‘Carry Fire’, Plant and the Space Shifters make what Plant calls “a mélange a trois”: “It’s a very British thing, the Bristol thing and then the element of North African and West African drum rhythms brought together with plaintive melodies.” Plant added a new voice to this polyglot sound by inviting fiddle and viola player Seth Lakeman, a luminary of the British folk scene, as a guest star on these sessions, much as he did with Gambian musician Juldeh Camara, on his last album.
Says Plant of his latter-day career and his current work: “I rejoice in my previous work but must continue the journey to new worlds, after all there are so many songs that are yet to be written. The whole impetus of the band has shifted, moved on its axis somewhat to allow more air and light to come in. Ultimately that makes for more exciting, and interesting landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation.”