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Robert Plant - Digging Deep: Subterranea

by Richard J. Lynch

If all you have known about Robert Plant are his one dozen years work as frontman for Led Zeppelin than you have missed out on decades of rewarding music and a rich and ever evolving catalogue of pleasing styles and soundscapes from one of the founding fathers of heavy metal. At least, that seems to be the point that is hammered home on Digging Deep: Subterranea - a 30 song compilation album curated by the singer himself as a companion to his popular podcast.

This expansive collection traces Plant's early forays into solo territory with the inclusion of the classic rock staple "Big Log" that became his first Top 40 hit. Other monster tracks would follow including "In the Mood", "Heaven Knows" and "Ship of Fools" that helped Robert set sail to emerge as the most successful ex-Zepper. "Shine It All Around" is enlightening with a funky groove and crisp production and it's easy to see why this was called the best song of Robert's solo flight in 2005.

But, as the album's name implies this record scratches well below the surface and unveils an artist never content to mine a singular style - as easy as it might have been to remain in a more marketable and mainstream style. A pivot into Americana with Alison Krauss and a move to Tennessee would influence his future musical choices and direction.

Take one listen to the double disc's 30 songs and you'll discover a modern musician and legendary rocker who wasn't afraid to rest on his laurels by amassing a body of work that exceeds expectations. Often he doesn't even sound like himself and that's a testimony to his artistry. Not only does he go deeper, but he travels way beyond the boundaries of where he's been before. The awe-inspiring Appalachia and the mystical mountains of the east have all informed his output. The new "Nothing Takes the Place of You" finds Plant well positioned as a crooner. The extraordinary cover of The Youngbloods' "Darkness, Darkness" digs up deeper shades and tones of this Jesse Colin Young penned classic.

With two generous discs full of songs spanning four decades there's no doubt that you'll be able to mine them to make your own musical discoveries within that will certainly certify the fact that Robert Plant as a recording artist in his own right is a true musical treasure. Take a deep dive into Digging Deep: Subterranea. You'll dig it. I know we do.


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