Label: Virgin Emi
The Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration Raising Sand inspired a string of albums featuring aging classic rockers exploring Americana. Also sporting T-Bone Burnett's lumbering production, The Union teams Elton John with old pal Leon Russell. The thought of a glitzy pop diva like John turning to Americana seems odd only if you don't recall his early albums, most of which were steeped in country rock. The Union isn't mind-blowing, but it contains several stunning tracks, including "Gone to Shiloh," a powerful gospel-brooder that's ripe for a Mark Lanegan cover.