Talking with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
South Central L.A. is about the last place you'd expect to find Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. But as with their stunning, folky collaboration, Raising Sand (which has sold 700,000-plus copies), the singers are again melding their styles in an unlikely way this time for the video to ''Please Read the Letter,'' Sand's second single. ''It's a song of yearning,'' says Plant of the tune, which first appeared on Jimmy Page and Plant's 1998 album, Walking Into Clarksdale. ''There's nothing rock & roll about it.'' (Which might explain Plant's cowboy boots.)
While Krauss, 36, says emoting in front of a crew is ''incredibly awkward,'' Plant, 59, doesn't seem fazed by the cameras, as long as he gets time in the makeup chair (''It's brushes for miles in my trailer; [they] used to get rid of the cracks in my face'') and isn't required to dance. ''You know Hairspray?'' he asks. ''We're the ones who never got through to the final heat in Philadelphia with Dick Clark.'' Instead, in the upcoming clip, the duo tiptoe around each other oh-so-dramatically, thanks in large part to the location: a 1905-built house that's falling apart at the seams. ''There's an air of fragility within the song [too],'' Plant notes. ''It's about unfinished business.''