Between reuniting with Led Zeppelin, collaborating with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss and doing a covers album (2010’s Band Of Joy), it’s been a busy few years for Robert Plant. And despite the news that he has written one new album with his backing band The Sensational Shape Shifters and another with singer/songwriter Buddy Miller, Plant says he’s going to take it easy for a while.
“I think I might just chill for a while, to be honest,” he tells CBS Local. “I’m enjoying life and spending more time in America now. I really enjoy it. I’m becoming way more aware and opinionated and stimulated by these new adventures. Everybody says I’m workaholic, and I just keep going and going. And I will do that (again). But I want to explore more. When I think about how I was writing when I was a kid, when I was 20 or whatever, it was all about travel and journey and stimulus. I’m getting on a bit now, but I have to look at more stuff to be able to write cohesively.”
One reason that he’s spending more time in America is his relationship with singer/songwriter Patty Griffin, who was part of his backing group on his Band Of Joy tour. He joined her onstage in October at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival for a new song. He confirmed that he has contributed to her next record. “It’s a brilliant record. It’s produced by Craig Ross. I just joined her on a couple of songs, which we wrote together. It’s great stuff, it’s really good.”
Griffin was Plant’s date at the Kennedy Center Honors, where Led Zeppelin was feted alongside Buddy Guy, David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman and ballerina Natalia Makarova. He said that he was particularly happy to receive the honor from President Obama.
“I think the world held it’s breath a couple of weeks ago, and what a fantastic result,” he told CBS Local, referring to the recent election. “What a charismatic guy, and what a job he’s got to do.”
While the President doesn’t speak at the actual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony (which airs on CBS on December 26 at 9 p.m. ET), he spoke about the band at a dinner at the White House before the ceremony, talking about their wild lifestyle in the ’70s, quipping that, “It’s fitting that we’re doing this in a room with windows that are three inches thick! And Secret Service all around… so guys, just settle down! These paintings are valuable.”
Plant added, “His humor, relating to our career a while back was very, very funny. He’s got us down!” Watch the President’s full speech here.
Meanwhile, if Plant doesn’t do much performing in 2013, you can check out two recent live releases. One, Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters, is available as a download, and features his latest backing band. The other, Live From The Artist’s Den, features him with his Band Of Joy, including Patty Griffin.
— Brian Ives, CBS Local