Plant and Krauss bound for Grammy glory

Sun Feb 8, 2009 5:40pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and bluegrass queen Alison Krauss are the favorites to take home the coveted Grammy for album of the year when the music industry's top honors are handed out on Sunday.

The odd couple scored five nominations for their collaboration, "Raising Sand," on which they reworked old folk ballads and R&B chestnuts under the watchful eye of producer T-Bone Burnett, the man behind the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, the 2002 album of the year winner.

"Raising Sand" was an instant critical and commercial hit, and Plant scuttled a much-rumored Led Zeppelin reunion by opting to tour Europe and America with Krauss instead.

Grammy voters will surely warm to the 60-year-old's "amazing transformation" from the frontman with one of the most debauched and successful rock bands of all time to an earnest purveyor of white mountain blues, said Doug Brod, editor at Spin magazine.

"There's a quality to him that really appeals to people now," Brod said. "People see him as a survivor, as a guy who's not afraid to take chances."

Krauss is already the Grammys' darling. At just 37, she has won 21 Grammys, ranking at No. 7 on the list of all-time winners. If she and Plant sweep their categories, she would tie at No. 3 with French conductor Pierre Boulez. The only people with more are late classical conductor Sir Georg Solti with 31 Grammys and prolific producer/composer Quincy Jones with 27.


Plant and Krauss have plenty of tough competition for album of the year. And surprises abound: Last year, no one foresaw jazz veteran Herbie Hancock's win, and outspoken rapper Kanye West is still smarting over two defeats.

The other contenders this year are British rock bands Coldplay and Radiohead and hip-hop heroes Lil Wayne and Ne-Yo.   Continued...

<p>A white-gloved worker polishes a Grammy Award before the 51st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>