Sting                                                  The Bridge                                             On Friday

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Rod Stewart                             Tears of Hercules                               Get it now

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Robert Plant & Alison Krauss                 Raise The Roof                 On Friday

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Ren Harvieu

Gorilla, Manchester                                                   Up to November 24

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You don’t have to be a septuagenarian to have an album out this week, but it helps. 

Rod Stewart, 76; Robert Plant, 73. Sting just turned 70, and he reached the peak years of his career after Rod Stewart. Plant is bringing Alison Krauss along, who was a whippersnapper when she turned 50. It’s quite a relief.

The three elderly giants still have the ability to sing. Each has its strengths.

The Bridge is a tour of Sting's (above) old musical haunts – punchy pop, wordy jazz and Geordie folk. All that’s missing is the old white reggae

The Bridge is a tour of Sting’s (above) old musical haunts – punchy pop, wordy jazz and Geordie folk. All that’s missing is the old white reggae

Plant is the one most concerned about quality control. His last album, Carry Fire 2017, was an absolute gem. The canniest salesman is Stewart, who, unlike the others, has noticed that Adele’s new album is due on Friday, and nipped in ahead of it.

Sting is the artist who has been working hard. According to the press release, Sting was at his studio before 10:30 each morning during lockdown. By rock-star standards, that’s like you or me clocking on at the crack of dawn.

Sting might have gone bold working alone with some trusted friends helping him remotely. On one of these 13 tracks, he was: Loving You, narrated by a jealous husband, combines brooding textures with chilling lyrics (‘I’ve been given to violence’).

But the rest is a tour of his old musical haunts – punchy pop, wordy jazz and Geordie folk. All that’s missing is the old white reggae.

Sting’s strengths are still there, from difficult emotions to breezy melodies. However, there are flaws as well. One example is his tendency to make a song into a lecture.

Except for Loving You only three of the songs by Sting are classic: Rushing Water (short-story-like), The Bells Of St Thomas (short-story-like), and For Her Love (elegant).

Still, he’s streets ahead of Sir Rod, who, while remaining perfectly fine on stage, has been phoning his albums in for years. He is often criticized for his songwriting which was at its peak in 1971 when he performed with Maggie May.

‘Sex is cool and sex is nice,’ he writes. ‘Sex will leave you in paradise!’ The man has eight children, yet there was nobody on hand to talk him out of that.

Kookooaramabama refers to the song in question, while Utter Drivel may be more appropriate.

Robert Plant would have loved to spend the week celebrating Led Zeppelin IV’s golden jubilee, which is the most important LP in all of hard rock.

Instead he has made it abundantly clear that he’s finished with Led Zep, however much the fans may wish otherwise.

However, he isn’t completely opposed to reunions. After a 14-year gap, he’s back with Alison Krauss, the bluegrass star who joined him for the much-loved covers album Raising Sand. In fact, they had started to work on a sequel back in 2010 but abandoned it. 

Now they’re having another go with Raise The Roof.

After a 14-year gap, Robert Plant is back with Alison Krauss (above), the bluegrass star who joined him for the much-loved covers album Raising Sand

Robert Plant (above) is back together with Alison Krauss, the bluegrass superstar who joined him on Raising Sand’s much-loved covers album.

It won’t put your roof in grave danger: this is 55 minutes of mellow Americana. Plant sings forcefully and Krauss quite beautifully, but only two songs, the Everly Brothers’ The Price Of Love and Merle Haggard’s Going Where The Lonely Go, are a match for their magic.

In the long flat months over lockdown, when there was no live music, the thing I looked forward to most was the return of Ren Harvieu, Salford’s answer to Dusty Springfield.

Her tour, rescheduled twice, is worth the wait – if only to see her outfit, a dark-green velvet minidress with sleeves like wings.

Harvieu’s career has been a rollercoaster. After signing at age 17, Harvieu was beaten back and made a top five album. Island Records dropped her. After a few months, she joined Bella Union, and met Romeo Stodart, a Magic Numbers soulmate, who now leads her lively six-piece band.

Ren Harvieu's (above) voice is one of the wonders of the pop world – rich, apparently effortless, built to convey both despair and delight

Ren Harvieu’s (above) voice is one of the wonders of the pop world – rich, apparently effortless, built to convey both despair and delight

Harvieu is 31 years old and has two albums full of torch songs.

Her voice is one of the wonders of the pop world – rich, apparently effortless, built to convey both despair and delight.

If you’re placing an order for Adele, do treat yourself to a bit of Ren too.