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Raising Sand - Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

Updated on August 10, 2012

A review of the musical success that defied expectation and genre

Raising Sand is an unusual and beautiful album, featuring the voices of husky Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin fame) and sweet-voiced Alison Krauss (an American country singer). Most reviews focus on the very different musical backgrounds of the two singers, and the astonishingly succesful result of their voices combining. Alison Krauss' voice is strong and sweet, while Robert Plant provides a harsher, wailing counterpoint, grounding the songs and preventing them from flying off under the force of airy saccharine.

The producer,T-Bone Burnett, is credited with the amazing sound balance and effects. (He also played guitar on ten of the thirteen tracks!) T-Bone Burnett has previously worked with artists such as k.d. lang, Counting Crows and The Wallflowers, and won Grammy Awards for the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack .

The songs themselves are an interesting mix, from old classics such as the Everly Brothers' Gone, Gone, Gone to new songs written especially for the compilation. Songwriters include Tom Waits (with Trampled Rose - my favourite in the whole album), Robert Plant himself, Roly Jon Salley, Gene Clark and Milton Campbell - to name but a few. They are well chosen - or well written - for the pair's voices.

All in all, this is a unique compilation, and one I would not hesitate to share with practically anyone.

About Raising SandThe Songs of Raising SandiTunes, Sheet Music and Guestbook

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Raising Sand - An Amazing Album - Sung by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant and written by a range of well-known writers

Raising Sand is a collection of music from two amazing singers - Robert Plant, usually classed as 'heavy metal' and Alison Krauss, mostly known for her bluegrass/country/gospel songs. Together they bring a variety of songs to life (both solo and in harmony) - each of the songs written by a different, fantastic, songwriter.

Raising Sand would be a perfect Father's Day gift - or Mother's day - or birthday - or Christmas present. It's one of those albums that appeals to a lot of people and is of high enough quality that even if they don't like it, you won't be embarrassed to have given it.

My parents love it. I love it. My sister loves it... everyone I've made listen to it loves it. Will you?

Raising Sand
Raising Sand

The musical collaboration of the decade, Raising Sand is the sound of two iconic figures stepping out of their respective comfort zones and letting their instincts lead them across a brave new sonic landscape. Despite hailing from distinctly different backgrounds, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant share a maverick spirit and willingness to extend the boundaries of their respective genres. This spirit, expertly honed by producer T Bone Burnett, has resulted in an album pitched three steps beyond some cosmic collision of early urban blues, spacious West Texas country, and the untapped potential of the folk-rock revolution.

Supported by the unparalleled musicianship of Marc Ribot, Dennis Crouch, Mike Seeger, Jay Bellerose, Norman Blake, Greg Leisz, Patrick Warren, and Riley Baugus, Plant and Krauss -- as both solo and harmony vocalists -- tackle an intriguing selection of songs from such tunesmiths as Tom Waits, Gene Clark, Sam Phillips, Townes Van Zandt, The Everly Broth! ers, and Mel Tillis. Raising Sand finds Robert Plant and Alison Krauss exploring popular music's elemental roots while still sounding effortlessly, breath-takingly contemporary.

 

Review 'Raising Sand'! - Did you love it or hate it? Boring or beautiful? Success or failure?

What's your opinion on the music of 'Raising Sand'?

Grammy Awards and Other Achievements

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss holding their Grammy Awards for Raising Sand
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss holding their Grammy Awards for Raising Sand

The List of Awards Won By 'Raising Sand' - 'Raising Sand' won all five of the Grammys it was nominated for.

  • Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals - "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)"

    50th Grammy Awards (released as a single before the album was released)

  • Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album

    51st Grammy Awards

  • Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals - "Rich Woman"

    51st Grammy Awards

  • Best Country Collaboration with Vocals - "Killing the Blues"

    51st Grammy Awards

  • Record of the Year - "Please Read the Letter"

    51st Grammy Awards

  • Album of the Year

    51st Grammy Awards

  • #51 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs 2007 - "Killing the Blues"
  • Nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize in the UK.
  • #2 on Rhapsody's "Country's Best Albums of the Decade" in 2009

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Talk About Raising Sand - A 'Raising Sand' Interview

This is a very interesting interview about the creation of Raising Sand, woven through with excerpts from the album. Definitely worth watching - and if you're new to the album, it will give you a fairly accurate taste of what it feels and sounds like.

And if you like what you hear, you can go on down the page to listen to the full songs. And then you can buy them. And then you can listen to them constantly. And then you can forward it on to someone else and start the cycle over.

Favourite quote: Alison Krauss recalling a conversation she had with T Bone Burnett, the producer.

"You both are nervous.

...and that's what I wanted"

Additional musicians

Riley Baugus - banjo

Jay Bellerose - drums

Norman Blake - acoustic guitar

T-Bone Burnett - acoustic and electric guitar, six-string bass guitar

Dennis Crouch - acoustic bass

Greg Leisz - pedal steel guitar

Marc Ribot - acoustic guitar, banjo, dobro, electric guitar

Mike Seeger - autoharp

Patrick Warren - Keyboards, pump organ, toy piano

Raising Sand Song List

Listen to the songs of Raising Sand, watch videos and learn a bit about their stories, history and original artists on the next page!

The Songs of Raising Sand

Or buy them and other versions from iTunes, find sheet music and leave a comment on the

iTunes and Guestbook page

Which Is Your Favourite Song? (The Song List) - Vote for your favourite track - or click to jump to a song and listen!

Which song from 'Raising Sand' did you like best?

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Raising Sand was certified platinum by the RIAA on March 4, 2008.

Rich Woman - Written by Dorothy LaBostrie, McKinley Millet

Performed by both Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 4:04

This song won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and was on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at number 18 for one week from February 28, 2009. It was first recorded for Specialty Records in 1955, by McKinley Millet (as L'il Millet) and his Creoles.

I got a woman with plenty of money

She got the money and I got the honey

Called my baby late last night

She told me daddy everything was all right

She got the money and I got the honey

She got the money and I got the honey

She got the money and I got the honey

Buy 'Rich Woman' as an mp3

Rich Woman from Raising Sand

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Live Performances and Film Soundtracks - 'Rich Woman' live and in 'Mad Money'

There have been only two or three live performances of this song.

The 'Rich Woman' single was used as part of the soundtrack of the 2008 motion picture, Mad Money, starring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah.

Killing the Blues - Written by Roly Jon Salley

Performed by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 4:16

"He's the golden god who once urged you to squeeze his lemon; she's the bluegrass virtuoso. They bring out each other's best on this bit of acoustic grown-up heartbreak.".

#51 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007

'Killing the Blues' won one of the five Grammy Awards that Raising Sand was nominated for (and won) - Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

Leaves were falling, just like embers,

In colors red and gold, they set us on fire

Burning just like moonbeams in our eyes.

[Chorus:]

Somebody said they saw me, swinging the world by the tail

Bouncing over a white cloud, killing the blues.

Now I'm guilty of something...

I hope you never do

Because there is nothing

Any sadder than losing yourself in love.

Buy 'Killing the Blues' as an Mp3

Killing the Blues from Raising Sands

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Live Performances and Covers - Various versions of 'Killing the Blues'

Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us - Written by Sam Phillips

Performed by Robert Plant & Allison Krauss

Length: 3:26

Some of the lines in this song appear to be referencing the gospel singer - "Little Rosetta Nubin, the singing and guitar playing miracle". She was popular in the 1930s and '40s and had a strong influence on later artists such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Fanklin and Johnny Cash.

Standing in my broken heart all night long

Darkness held me like a friend when love wore off

Looking for the lamb that's hidden in the cross

The finder's lost

I know I loved you too much

I'll go alone to get through

I hear Rosetta singing in the night

Echos of light that shines like stars after they're gone

And tonight she's my guide as I go on alone

With the music up above

Buy "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us"


...and songs from the original Sister Rosetta as Mp3s

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Live Performances and Covers - Different Versions of "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us"

Polly Come Home - Written by Gene Clark

Performed by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 5:36

"On Killing The Blues or Gene Clark's "Polly Come Home" they nudge up against each other, buoyed up by Greg Leisz's floating pedal steel. And this from a man reknowned for going 'baybeeee, baybeee'. Phew..."

BBC Raising Sand Review

Gene Clark also wrote the song "Through the Morning, Through the Night".

If the wild bird could speak

She'd tell of places you had been

She's been in my dreams

And she knows all the ways of the wind

[Chorus:]

Polly, come home again

Spread your wings to the wind

I felt much of the pain

As it begins

Buy "Polly Come Home" as an Mp3


...

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Dillard & Clark (Polly)

Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) - Written by Don and Phil Everly

Performed by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 3:33

Originally recorded by the Everly Brothers for Warner Music in 1964.

"Stick With Me Baby" was also recorded by them, for the album A Date with The Everly Brothers in 1960.

Everyone that you meet baby

As you walk down the street baby

Will ask you why youre walkin all alone

Why youre on your own

Just say I'm gone

Gone, gone, gone

Gone, ga-gone, cause you done me wrong

Rate this song out of Five!

With 5 being highest and 1 lowest - what would you rate 'Polly Come Home' at?

Rate this song out of Five!

With 5 being highest and 1 lowest - what would you rate 'Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)' at?

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Live performances and Other Versions - Listen to the Everly version of "Gone, Gone, Gone"

Raising Sand won Album of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards

The 51st Annual Award Winngers List

Through the Morning, Through the Night - Written by Gene Clark

Performed by Alison Krauss

Chorus: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 4:01

Along with "Polly Come Home" this song was originally recorded for the 1969 album, Through the Morning Through the Night by Dillard & Clark.

Believe me when I tell you

I will try to understand

Belive me when I tell you

I could never kill a man

But to know that another man's holding you tight

Hurts me, little darling

Thru the morning thru the night

The bond has been broken

The promise you gave

The words that were spoken

I can not be your slave

Rate this song out of Five!

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Live Performances and Alternate Versions - Gene Clark's Original Version of "Through The Morning, Through The Night." and Others...

Robert Plant was the lead singer and lyricist for Led Zeppelin

Please Read the Letter - Written by Charlie Jones, Michael Lee, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

Performed by Robert Plant

Chorus: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 5:53

This song was first recorded by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant for the album Walking into Clarksdale, in 1998. It was released as the second single from that album and later rerecorded for Raising Sands.

"Slow, plodding, almost crawling, Krauss' harmony vocal takes it to the next step, adds the kind of lonesome depth that makes this a song whispered under a starless sky rather than just another lost love song."

Thom Jurek: Raising Sand Review at Allmusic

''It's a song of yearning,'' says Plant ... ''There's nothing rock & roll about it.'' ''There's an air of fragility within the song [too],'' Plant notes. ''It's about unfinished business.''

Robert Plant explained that the song is about "unfinished business" and yearning for another in the Entertainment Weekly interview - A Tale of Two Singers

"Please Read the Letter" won the Record of the Year award at the 2009 Grammy Awards. It also entered at No. 20 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart (the virtual equivalent to No.120 on the Hot 100) in 2009.

The 2008 Music Video (below) was nominated for Wide Open Country Video of the Year at the 2009 CMT Music Awards. It was shot in a house in Los Angeles, that was built in 1905.

Genre: Folk-Rock

Caught out running

With just a little too much to hide

Maybe baby

Everythings gonna turn out fine

Please read the letter

I mailed it to your door

It's crazy how it all turned out

We needed so much more

Once I stood beside a well of many words

My house was full of rings and

Charms and pretty birds

Please understand me,

My walls came falling down

There's nothing here that's left for you

But check with lost and found

Aaaaaaaaaah

Please read the letter that I wrote

Please read the letter that I wrote

Please read the letter that I wrote

Buy the Mp3 for "Please Read the Letter"

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Live Performances - More videos of "Please Read the Letter"

"Robert's interest is primarily in Delta blues, and Alison's is mostly Appalachian music. So my tendency was to give him the Appalachian stuff and her the Delta blues. By the end of the record, Robert's doing a Doc Watson tune, 'Year Long Journey.' He's never gotten close to that kind of country music before."

T Bone Burnett, interview http://www.billboard.com/news/don-t-call-em-duets-1003646951.story

Trampled Rose - Written by Kathleen Brennan, Tom Waits

Performed by Alison Krauss

Chorus: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 5:34

This one is my favourite from the entire album. Originally written by Tom Waits (see his version directly under the 'Raising Sand' video) for the 2004 album Real Gone.

In the muddy street

With the fireworks and leaves

A blind man with a cup I asked

Would he sing 'Kisses Sweeter Than Wine'

I know that rose,

Like I know my name

The one I gave my love,

It was the same

Now I find it in the street,

A trampled rose

Tom Waits - "Trampled Rose" - Tom Waits singing "Trampled Rose" live

From his very recognisable voice ('described as 'gargling with gravel') to his poetic, abrasive and sensitive lyrics, Tom Waits is unique singer-songwriter.

I'm very torn between the Tom Waits and the 'Raising Sand' version. Tom Wait's originally wrote this song for the album Real Gone. It's track 10 on the album. The live version below doesn't sound exactly the same - all the 'waaoow' parts aren't in the album version, and this one plays a bit faster.

* Marc Ribot - Cigar Box Banjo

* Larry Taylor - Bass

* Brain - Percussion

* Tom Waits - Vocal

Buy "Trampled Rose" as a single Mp3


(Just to repeat - I think the album version by Tom Waits sounds a lot better than the live version above)

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Live Performances from Tom Waits and Alison Krauss & Robert Plant - Sky's the lonely gray of a lonely wren...

The album was released on the 23rd October, 2007 by Rounder Records

Fortune Teller - written by Naomi Neville

Performed by Robert Plant

Length: 4:30

Released 1962

Naomi Neville was a pseudonym for Allen Toussaint. This song has been sung by a huge variety of bands - most notably the Rolling Stones, The Who and The Throb - you can see some videos below.

It's a fun song with a twist in the story!

Went to the fortune teller

To have my fortune read

I didn't what to tell her

I had a dizzy feeling in my head

Said she'd take a look at my palm

Said "Son do you feel kind of warm?"

And she looked into her crystal ball

Said "You're in love."

You can buy various versions of "Fortune Teller" as Mp3s

"Fortune Teller" by The Who, the Rolling Stones, and of course from Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.

Rate this song out of Five!

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Live Performances and Other Versions - 'Fortune Teller' was played by a lot of different bandsThis so

This song is probably the most widely covered in the whole album, played by Rolling Stones, The Who, The Hollies, The Merseybeats, Tony Jackson, the Hardtimes, the Stellas, The Throb, Strawberry Alarm Clock (recording as Thee Sixpence)...

And more. It was first recorded by Benny Spellman (single B-side on Minit Records 644).

(NB: The better version of the Rolling Stones cover was on the later album More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) - The Throb are considered to have equaled their version, however.)

The Production Team

T-Bone Burnett – production

Gavin Lurssen – mastering engineering

Stacy Parrish – audio engineering

Mike Piersante – audio engineering, mixing

Stick With Me Baby - written by Mel Tillis

Performed by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Length: 2:50

"Stick With Me Baby" was recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1960. They also wrote "Gone, Gone, Gone" (Done Moved On)

Everybody's been a-talkin'; they say our love wasn't real

That it would soon be over; that's not the way that I feel

But I don't worry, honey; let them say what they may

Come on and stick with me, baby; we'll find a way

Yes, we'll find a way

Buy "Stick With Me Baby" as an Mp3

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Live Performances and Other Version - "Stick With Me Baby" By Jimmy & the Rackets and live versions from Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Reached No. 2 in the Top 5 on the UK Albums Chart, in January 2008

Nothin' - Written by Townes Van Zandt

Performed by Robert Plant

Length: 5:33

Van Zandt was "a songwriter's songwriter" who did at age 44 from heart failure (almost certainly brought on by heroin overdose.)

Steve Earle once described him as "the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."

Van Zandt's response?

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken."

Hey mama, when you leave

Don't leave a thing behind

I don't want nothin'

I can't use nothin'

Take care into the hall

And if you see my friends

Tell them I'm fine

Not using nothin'

Almost burned out my eyes

Threw my ears down to the floor

I didn't see nothin'

I didn't hear nothin'

Nothin' by Townes van Zandt - A Private Concert: Holiday Inn, Houston (1988)

Nine years before he died.

Buy Nothin' as an Mp3

Click to listen,

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Live Performances and Other Version - More videos of Nothin' from them and Van Zandt's son

The "key to the magic is the delicious harmony vocals of the unlikely duo."

Billboard review

Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson - Written by Milton Campbell

Performed by Alison Krauss

Length: 4:02

This is another of my favourites.

Once I had myself a good woman

But I just didn't treat her right

I was always leaving

Livin' a party life

True love was waiting for me

I was much too blind to see

Till she told me she would leave me

I said that's all right with me

Oh now she's gone

Realize I lost the best thing there is

And my pride keeps telling me

Let your loss be your lesson

Buy "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" as an Mp3

Click to hear the various versions.

Rate this song out of Five!

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Live Performances and Alternate Cover Versions - "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" performed live and by other bands.

'Raising sand' is a blues expression for kicking up a storm

Your Long Journey - Written by Doc Watson, Rosa Lee Watson

Performed by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Length: 3:55

And a final song, with both singing together. This song is a quiet 'goodbye' song and works very well as the final piece in the album.

God's given us years of happiness here

Now we must part

And as the angels come and call for you

The pains of grief tug at my heart

Oh my darling

My darling

My heart breaks as you take your long journey

Buy 'Your Long Journey' as an Mp3

Listen to a selection of very different singers and buy the ones you like best.

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Live Performances and Versions from Other Artists - More Videos of "Your Long Journey"

A Second Album Is On Its Way - Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and T Bone Burnett are already working on a follow-up album to 'Raising Sand'

There's definitely a second album on the way - in fact, they were already working on it when the first one was getting its Grammy Awards!

"The one thing we certainly can't do is try and repeat [Raising Sand]... That was a moment in time and a beautiful moment, so to try and do that sort of thing again would detract from that. Hopefully we have at least two more records in us."

T Bone Burnett, interview with Rolling Stone

One of the consistent things about Robert Plant is that he's always creating something different. Alison Krauss on the other hand has had a long safe and unchallenging streak, until Raising Sand. Can they pull of a second album?

Do you think their second album will be just as good?

"The worst thing in the world is to say, 'Hey, these guys are making a duet album,' " he says. "A duet is normally something that's kind of sugarcoated and has a kind of saccharine quality to it. This is nothing like that. These are visitations, really, where Alison will bolster me or I'll augment her. [Making this] was like opening the bottle and out pops the genie that nobody expected." Robert Plant, same interview on Billboard.com

O Brother, Where Art Thou? - More award winning work directed by T-Bone Burnett

T-Bone Burnett also produced the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? . Much like 'Raising San', the score is mainly bluegrass, gospel, blues and country music. Alison Krauss also sang "Down to the River to Pray" and "I'll Fly Away" (with Gillian Welch) on the soundtrack.

Grammy Awards 2002

Album of the Year

Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for singer Dan Tyminski, Nashville songwriter Harley Allen, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band's Pat Enright, with "Man of Constant Sorrow"

Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "O, Death" by Ralph Stanley.

The soundtrack ranked #38 on CMT's 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music in 2006.

Rhapsody placed it #8 on the "Country’s Best Albums of the Decade" list in 2009 ('Raising Sand' came in at #2) and the 9513 Country Music Blog put it at #5 on the "Country’s Best Albums of the Decade" list.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack)

I only have half this soundtrack - my uncle sent part of it to me one year as a present. So I can only half praise it! And therefore bow out of the ring and let others review it properly.

"The Coen brothers have worked their magic again with their excellent film "O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?" The unique vision and perspective of the film is rivaled only by the excellence of its soundtrack, which might just be the best movie soundtrack I've heard.

Quite simply, there is not one weak track on this CD, period. Not one. There are highlights, to be sure, but the greatest aspect of this soundtrack might be that the diverse array of recordings and styles presents the listener with something new to appreciate every time they play the CD. "

[Amazon Review]

 

Guestbook - Did you like the songs?

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    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 6 years ago from USA

      Great album, great lens - there is so much information here!

    • profile image

      ZazzleEnchante 7 years ago

      Such a thorough, well researched lens! Lots of great info. and an entertaining lens!

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 7 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I remember seeing the two pick up the Grammy and singing a cut from the album. Didn't follow it up until now. Great review and very entertaining. A Squid Angel blessing :)

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 7 years ago

      I wasn't familiar with "Raising Sand" either, but have just been listening to a couple of songs. I like the one about the letter. This is ver well-done.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I was not familiar with "Raising Sand" until I read this review, but enjoyed 'learning' about them.

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      After reading this Raising Sand lens I feel like a student of the two performers! Wishing you much success with it. Squidoo Angel Blessed.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      What else can I say? Well, I know both but never heard Raising Sand. But love the lens, the way you crafted it, not only informative but also entertaining!

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      VideoShelf 7 years ago

      great lens Flynn

    • KangarooJase1 profile image

      KangarooJase1 7 years ago

      Awesome Lens Flynn, some of these tracks are just simply...... haunting..... need to listen more when I get some sleep lol. Thankyou for providing some great music I previously didn't know what available.