TORONTO — Robert Plant says his 10th solo album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is his most personal to date.
Nine of the 11 songs on the album, which he produced, were written by the former Led Zeppelin singer and his band, The Sensational Space Shifters.
Plant — considered one of the top rock vocalists of all time — sounds as good as ever on the album, which comes out Sept. 9.
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The 66-year-old said there’s a simple trick to keeping his voice healthy.
“I just keep working,” Plant told Global News.
“A lot of my peers must think that I’m absolutely nuts because I do work a lot. But I have a great time doing it and I’m in really good company. My spirits are high and I don’t believe there is anything I can’t do.”
Plant said in the last 18 months he has done more than 100 shows.
“I can visit a career that’s pretty long now. Some people get a little bit, shall we say, overly creative about it. Some people get a little negative. But I have a good time.”
He said he’s inspired by a certain Canadian music icon who keeps on rocking at 68.
“I see the way that people like Neil Young work and I think that’s the place to come from — just keep reinventing,” explained Plant. “So I sing with optimism.”
Plant said he still finds it quite easy to write songs.
“I have a lot to say and I think a lot and I write a lot,” he said during a conference call. “I didn’t know how to pick the lock that opened the door that gave me this record and now the door is open and everything is flowing beautifully.”
Plant’s 2007 collaboration with country-bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, was a critical and commercial success — and took home several Grammys, including one for Album of the Year.
But don’t expect a follow-up anytime soon.
“She’s a very good friend of mine,” Plant said of Krauss, “but I think I’ve got a long way to go yet before I go back to Nashville and start knitting a sweater.”
Plant said he’s not in a rush to work with anyone.
“To be honest, it’s such a trip to be able to do my own stuff,” he said. “I was lucky with Alison Krauss and Patti Griffin [who sang backup for Plant in 2010] to do something which was unusual for me and unusual for them but I think the way it is now is perfect.”
Plant said he’s a fan of both PJ Harvey and the band Low but added, “they look after themselves.”
The first single from lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is “Rainbow,” which Plant describes as the most straightforward song on the album.
“It seems like a pretty cute song about what I would do to make somebody feel good,” he explained. “I will make the sun come out at the end of all the tears, basically.”
Plant acknowledged the album is pretty romantic.
“I’m always accused of having a very pronounced feminine side,” he said. “It doesn’t do me any harm.
“Artistically, I love relationships and friendships. I’m not very good at keeping them but I’m besotted by them.”
Those relationships and friendships help shape his music.
“I spent a lot of time traveling around using music as my sort of compass and it’s taken me to these various places with various people,” he explained. “That’s what you get when you hear my songs.”
Fans can hear the new songs when Plant plays Toronto’s Massey Hall on Sept. 30. It’s a warm-up for a tour that will bring him to cities across Canada next spring.
Plant told Global News he doesn’t intend to stop making music.
“As long as I’ve got something to talk about that fits against a pretty chord progression,” he said, “I shall write songs.”
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