Although I’ve been to the Montreal Jazz Festival, I had never heard of this award before. That’s because they just started giving it away in 2006. It is given to honor a popular artist’s extraordinary contribution to the musical world. And Plant sure certainly qualifies for that.

Many of you know that Zeppelin is my favorite band ever as I refer to them as ‘The Almighty and Powerful Led Zeppelin.’ But I am just as much a fan of Robert Plant’s solo career as well. One must acknowledge the fact that Robert has never just hung his hat on Zeppelin. So much so that he wouldn’t even perform Zep tunes until the release of his 4th solo album some 7-8 years after the end of Led Zeppelin. He wanted to earn a new respect for his own material by showing that he was more than just the front man for one of the greatest and most influential musical acts of all time. And he did so, by putting out a string of hits that always made radio airwaves and MTV. He never stood still and always kept up with the times by constantly evolving. Many artists in his position would just keep trying to recreate the same thing over and over, but not Plant. He kept moving forward all the time.

Some people are not pleased with Plant as he’s the only guy who’s not willing to do the whole Zeppelin reunion. But Plant is 62 now and no matter who you are, you can’t do the same things you did with your voice at age 19 when you get into your 60’s. Although Plant still performs quite a few Zeppelin tunes in all his tours now. They are usually different and more laid back versions. I must say that he can still hit quite a few of those notes from the old days, but he picks and chooses his spots carefully. I think the problem with a Zeppelin reunion is that a lot people would expect him to sound like the records, and that’s simply not possible at this point in his life. The bits I heard from the O2 show in England sounded great, but that was just one show. I can’t see him being able to do that night in and night and sounding good. More people need to show appreciation for his growth and courage to experiment instead of wasting time hoping for something that's probably not going to happen.

If you’re curious what Plant has been up to and can’t make it to Montreal on Friday, you can see him at The Borgata in Atlantic City Saturday night. That’s where I’ll be for his last show in America of this tour. Here’s a cut from his latest cd ‘Band of Joy’. This one’s called “Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday” and it has a “Gallows Pole” flavor to it as it has some banjo and just builds and builds.

Congrats to my man Robert Anthony Plant for the Spirit Award, and I can’t wait for the Borgata.