What: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, with Lillie Mae

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, doors open at 5 p.m.

Where: Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Drive, Bend

Cost: $59.50 plus fees for general admission, reserved seating sold out

Contact: bendconcerts.com or 541-312-8510

As he sang on Led Zeppelin’s first album in 1969, Robert Plant has “got to ramble” when it comes to his music.

The 71-year-old singer-songwriter, whose wailing vocals and golden-haired, rock-idol stage presence helped make Zeppelin a cornerstone of hard rock music for generations, has bounced from genre to genre since Zeppelin disbanded in 1980. In recent years, that adventurousness has led to some unexpected collaborations starting with his Grammy-winning collaboration with bluegrass musician Alison Krauss, 2007’s “Raising Sand,” and continuing with Band of Joy in the early 2010s, which featured country folk singer-songwriter Patty Griffin.

Since 2012, Plant has focused his attention on the Sensational Space Shifters, a band that grew out of his early 2000s project Strange Sensation. The group, which debuted at Les Schwab Amphitheater in 2015, will return to the venue Thursday in support of 2017 album “Carry Fire,” which Plant described during a recent conversation with GO! Magazine as a “real trance, dance, rock, blues, folk, country, North African melange.” (“Try and write that down,” he quipped right after.)

“Whatever you expect, it’s gonna be way beyond,” Plant said of the band’s set lists on its current tour, which have leaned heavily on Zeppelin favorites such as “Black Dog” and “When the Levee Breaks” plus a couple of songs each from “Carry Fire” and 2014’s “lullaby and … The Ceaseless Roar.”

“We’re like a small tribe — the band, the technicians,” he continued. “We kind of keep the same people all the time, and we have this kind of lope to our music, which is — well, it excites me to no end. … It’s a revelation more and more for me. And because I’m relaxed into it, and I don’t have to — I’m not dealing with any demons and ghosts. I’m just grinding this stuff out from a new place, and it’s very exciting.”

Plant and the band — guitarist Justin Adams, keyboardist-programmer John Baggott, bassist Billy Fuller, drummer Dave Smith, and guitarist Liam “Skin” Tyson — are “scraping the top of the United States” on their tour, which wraps two days after Bend at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. He raved about the weather at a recent outdoor show in Fargo, North Dakota, which bodes well for what will probably be a chilly night at Les Schwab.

“It was a fantastic show, and it was outdoors, and it was cold and brisk and sharp, and it made a lot of difference to the music,” he said. “… Being in these more chilly climes — the autumn time, the fall — when you play outside the sound seems to be more sweet.”

The singer traced the return of his Strange Sensation collaborators within the Sensational Space Shifters back to his collaboration with Krauss, which began on the TV show “CMT Crossroads” about 12 years ago, Plant said. That show features country stars collaborating with artists from outside genres.

“It was really, really interesting for me to be able to sit back and share the sharp end of the evening’s entertainment with another artist who has a remarkably different style to myself,” Plant said. “And that ran the course that it did, and it was very exciting, and that segued into work with the great Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller in my group that I called the Band of Joy, which was named after a band that (Led Zeppelin drummer John) Bonham and I had in 1967. … And that again runs its course, and the deal is, do I stay in the American zone and stay with American players, or, how am I feeling about what happened back in my old world?”

At the time, Plant split his time between Austin, Texas, and family in England. He returned to England to reconnect with most of the members of Strange Sensation.

“I’m a lowly singer at the front of a lot of really great musicians in the last so many years,” Plant said. “So I don’t want the grass to grow under my feet. My voice is really working better than it has done for many years because it’s a very much more comfortable and joyous — I feel like I’ve got the groove, which is really good. … After 40 years of the expiracy of Led Zep as a working band, I’ve got enough head of steam to respect my past and the contributions I made to all those songs, but at the same time to move it around a bit.”

After working with some of the greatest songwriters of multiple generations, including (obviously) his Zeppelin partner and guitarist Jimmy Page and Krauss, Plant knows his way around a song. He said his writing process “hasn’t changed at all.”

“It’s just the power of invention and will and interest,” Plant said. “I think the will is the thing. As you craft a song, you have to develop a really intimate relationship with the people that you’re working with. When you have to expose your musical ideas, it’s quite a naked process, but I’ve got nothing to lose. So I don’t mind how naked it gets so long as I can reach some kind of serious point or revelatory point in the song.”

With everyone contributing equally in the Sensational Space Shifters, “Carry Fire” draws on a wide array of sounds. Baggott brings electronic elements from his work with Massive Attack and Portishead, while The Pretenders’ Chrissy Hynde sings a duet with Plant on “Bluebirds Over the Mountain.”

“The last record we made, ‘Carry Fire,’ carried some pretty strong messages, and it also carried some really exotic moments,” Plant said. “The actual song ‘Carry Fire’ itself just came out of nowhere, and the actual style of the string playing, and that is something that is not uncommon to us because of our love of Egyptian music and Maghrebi music from Morocco. But it turned into this other piece of trance-like — I don’t know what you’d call it — contemporary popular music, I guess.”

As for the future, Plant is laser-focused on the tour and future work with the Sensational Space Shifters. He teased “about 30 or 40 new ideas” that the band is working.

When asked about future collaborators, he said he is a fan of alt-country artists such as Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson, and mentioned Minnesota indie rockers Low as another favorite. And despite rumors of a failed second collaboration with Krauss in 2009, Plant said he expects to work with her — and Griffin — again.

“I have plans to work with everybody — everybody that’s got some real soul, and both those women do,” Plant said. “But as far as times and dates, I don’t know what they are. But no doubt, they’ll come around sooner or later.”

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