Raising Sand, from Led Zeppelin vet and bluegrass superstar, wins five Grammys on Sunday night.
By James Montgomery with MTV News staff
<P>"I'm bewildered," <MTVNLINK type="artist" id="14245">Robert Plant</MTVNLINK> said onstage as he accepted the <MTVNLINK type="news" id="1604580">Grammy Album of the Year award</MTVNLINK> with <MTVNLINK type="artist" id="506074">Alison Krauss</MTVNLINK> on Sunday night. "In the old days we would have called this selling out, but it's a good way to spend a Sunday."</P><P>He was probably one of the few who were surprised, because <i>Raising Sand,</i> which won five trophies at Sunday night's show, is in many ways the perfect <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/grammys/">Grammy</a> album. It features two respected veterans, a critically lauded producer, some sandpaper-and-velvet vocals and a baker's dozen of time-tested standards.</p><div style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px; float: left;"><embed src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:video:mtv.com:338316" width="256" height="223" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashVars="configParams=instance%3Dnews%26vid%3D338316" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" base="."></embed></div><p></P><P>You're probably familiar with Robert Plant from his <MTVNLINK type="artist" id="993">Led Zeppelin</MTVNLINK> days, and you might be aware of producer T-Bone Burnett's work on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack (it won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2002). And if you don't know who Alison Krauss is, she possesses a haunting set of pipes and is one of the meanest fiddle players in the world. Oh, and she's won 21 Grammys, more than any other female artist and the seventh-most in history.</P><P>Really, she's the key to <i>Sand</i>'s success, and not just because of her voice (or her fiddle playing). She and Plant first met in 2004, at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute to legendary bluesman Leadbelly, and the former Zeppelin man was amazed by her knowledge of American Roots music — so much so that they began kicking around the idea of recording an album together. Three years later, <i>Sand</i> was released.</P><P>And while Plant possesses the more famous voice, the album's finest moments radiate from Krauss. Whether she's getting bluesy on Little Milton's "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" or entwining with Plant's husky voice on songs like "Please Read the Letter" and Roly Salley's winsome "Killing the Blues," she more than carries her end of the bargain.</P><P>And perhaps that's also due to producer Burnett, who handpicked the 13 songs the duo cover on <i>Sand.</i> His arrangements are sparse — giving the two voices ample room to breathe — yet dense, warm and crackling at the same time. It's a testament to his work that he's often given just as much billing as Plant and Krauss on the project … and it's certainly justified.</P><P>To date, <i>Sand</i> has sold more than 1 million copies, heaped tons of acclaim and actually earned a Grammy last year — "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" took home the award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.</P><P>One expert was surprised not by the album's success, but by the fact that it's actually quite a good album.</P><P>"At first, the album seemed like a vanity project. … Two names, clearly a one-off record, didn't have to be any good, you know?" <i>New York Times</i> music critic Jon Caramanica said. "Led Zeppelin fans would buy it because of Robert Plant, Alison Krauss would get a check. But it actually turned out to be a really thoughtful, really <i>good</i> record. So when you combine all that with the fact that the Grammys love to lionize one of their own, I could really see it taking home some awards." </P>
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My good friend Caprice Crane’s new book, With a Little Luck, is out today. Yay, Caprice!
It’s gotten great reviews:
“Crane is one of the funniest writers of popular fiction around. The dialog (inner and outer) is laugh-out-loud, snort-inducing hilarious . . . Readers will want to cross their fingers and spit while throwing salt over their shoulders if it helps Berry reach her dreams. Highly recommended.”
“Fans of Stacy Ballis and Cara Lockwood will appreciate Crane’s effortlessly funny style, which is often attempted in popular fiction but is rarely this well executed…Lighthearted and charmingly honest.”
“[A] satisfying romantic comedy…[with] real character growth.”
And even better blurbs:
“Romantic, poignant and funny—this book is a lucky find for lit fans. Caprice Crane is a nimble and gifted storyteller.”
—Diablo Cody, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Juno
“A hilarious romp that oozes charm and giddy fun. Caprice Crane is a true talent.”
—Molly Jong-Fast, author of The Social Climber’s Handbook
“Witty, fast-paced, and sheer fun. Caprice Crane is a master of dialogue. Half the time I was reading this book I was smiling, which made me look like a crazy person on the subway.”
—Jancee Dunn, author of Don’t You Forget About Me and Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?
“Absolutely charming and hilarious.”
—Missy Peregrym, star of the movie Stick It and ABC’s Rookie Blue
“With a Little Luck scores in humor, head, and heart. In other words, it’s a perfect trifecta.”
—Karyn Bosnak, author of 20 Times a Lady (soon to be the major motion picture What’s Your Number?)
(Omg, who is that last fantastic blurber?) (I meant every word of it.)
And most importantly, she has the cutest dog ever (who likes to video chat with Bev):
Anyway, check it out, buy it—it’s fantastic!
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With his three books looking behind the scenes of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, Lucasfilm editor Will McCrabb has become the master of rare of pictures and details from the classic films. EMPIRE: This gives you a sense of the size of the Wampa Snow Creature not seen in 1980, a stuntman is on stilts. […]
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I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV since coming to LA. My favorite shows are House Hunters and House Hunters International. There’s also another show I like to watch called For Rent, but only because it makes me angry.
When it comes to apartments/homes, I think living in New York for the past eleven years has made me bitter because there was this whiny broad on For Rent a few nights ago who was looking at a huge place—A HUGE PLACE—and was like, “There’s no place for a dining room table…”
B*TCH, YOU’RE LUCKY TO GET A KITCHEN IN NEW YORK.
I hated her.
Now there’s some stupid lady on House Hunters who wants a townhouse with a fireplace that she can turn on with a light switch. IT HAS TO BE A LIGHT SWITCH because she doesn’t want to bend down and flip a switch on the floor.
WHO DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE?
Anyway, I know my LA update is WAY overdue (and truth be told I wrote a long one last week but for some reason it didn’t save so I lost the whole thing and I was so angry that I just said, “Ah, f*ck it,” and closed the computer instead of rewriting) but to give you a quick update, I AM SO HAPPY HERE. I MEAN, I’M REALLY, REALLY HAPPY. And I think living here and watching HGTV—both of these things combined—has made me realize that New York was just beating me down. I mean, the fireplace lady—yes, she’s an idiot. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting a dining room table. Why did I get so mad at that lady?
Since being here, at least once a day I ask myself why I have lived in New York for so long. (It’s like I had Stockholm Syndrome or something.) CALIFORNIA IS AWESOME. It’s like the promised land. It’s sunny all the time and there are birds and flowers everywhere. I have space out here. I have a sofa on the patio out here. I HAVE A SOFA OUTSIDE. I haven’t seen one rat since I’ve been here. But hummingbirds? THEY ZIP BY MY HEAD EVERY DAY. I am so happy.
I’m supposed to go back to New York in November, but truth be told, I’m not sure I will.
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