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Were you surprised by all the accolades accorded to Raising Sand? Did the six Grammys take you by surprise?

Yeah. I mean, who knows where the time goes, as Judy Collins once said. Who knows what on Earth is going on? You make a record with a whole bunch of people you never met before, you laugh a lot, somebody gives you some ribs — welcome to the South! — and you get a bunch of Grammys and triple-platinum discs and stuff!

After that kind of phenomenal success, was there a temptation to do another album with Alison? What was the divide that had you go off and do it this way? It must have been tempting to want to go back and do it all again.

Robert Plant tackles Americana again.
Gregg Delman
Robert Plant tackles Americana again.

Well, there is of course, but Alison's career for 25 years has been with her band, Union Station and all those guys, so it's understandable that she works with them. I might have gone back to my other band, Strange Sensation, if I thought that was the place to go, but having met Buddy and that opening the window to Darrell Scott and Patty Griffin, I couldn't go back to England. Musically, I have to stay here now for the duration.

Do you ever go back and listen to the stuff you did with Zeppelin and kind of ruminate on it all?

Yes, absolutely. I also listen to Willie Nelson, and I listen to Robert Johnson. I listen to Band of Horses. I mean, I listen to everything. And I'm very proud of what I've been associated with along the line. I'm also thinking about how come [blues musician] Charlie Patton was so good back then? Because he didn't have a press agent, he didn't have phone interviews, he didn't do this, he didn't do that. He stood on a street corner and let it come out, and he changed the world.

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