Robert Plant Premieres New Band at Low-Key Show
Robert Plant premiered a new band called Saving Grace at a low-key show in Shropshire, England, last week, and announced a second appearance.
Described as playing “music inspired by the dreamscape of the Welsh Marches” with dynamics “from a whisper to a scream,” the group features vocalist Suzy Dian, mandolinist-guitarist Tony Kelsey, banjoist-guitarist Matt Worley and percussionist Oli Jefferson.
The concert took place on Jan. 25 at the SpArC Theatre in Bishop’s Castle – less than two miles from the border between England and Wales – with an audience that hadn’t been told in advance who was playing. A post on the theater’s Facebook page, complete with pictures from the evening, called the event “something very special." “Saving Grace came onstage with Robert declaring that this was the band’s first gig," it read, "and he was very happy to be back in ‘Bouncy Castle.’
“He went on to say how they ‘deeply support SpArC Theatre and others like it’ and ‘how important it is to preserve these places of music, theater and art for communities in Shropshire , Herefordshire and Everywhereshire.’ Their music was sublime, laid-back and bluesy with eastern and folk influences. Robert was in fine voice, Suzi’s vocals blended perfectly, as well as standing out and owning it in her own right. With warm harmonies from Tony and Matt … we couldn’t believe our luck!”
The concert was arranged, the post noted, after Plant launched a search for appropriate places to perform with Saving Grace: “He was looking for small intimate venues. … Robert knows and loves the area and after a tour of the theater by manager Elizabeth Still he was impressed with the venue, and was also very keen to support the theater when he heard its future was under threat. So we set about making it happen.”
Saving Grace have been announced as support act for folk-prog icons Fairport Convention at the Forum in Bath, England, on Feb. 16, local media reported.
Plant has a long association with Wales. He wrote a number of Led Zeppelin songs with Jimmy Page at Bron-yr-Aur cottage in Powys, which borders Shropshire. In a promotional video for his 2014 album Lullaby and … The Ceaseless Roar, Plant spoke of “the peace and connection” he felt with the country.
In 2017, he said Wales had been a major inspiration for his latest album, Carry Fire. “My latest contributions were conceived along those small rivers on the Welsh borders, the Arrow, the Lugg and the Teme," he explained. "Those places unlock me, open me up. … You follow the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons and the colors and the resonance changes your mood.”