Robert Plant has told the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that he’s completed “12 tracks, 11 originals” for the forthcoming studio album with his latest group, The Sensational Space Shifters.

Plant says the album features “no sentimental stuff” and he credits his time in Led Zeppelin with helping inspire his recent musical projects, such as the Americana-flavored albums he recorded with Alison Krauss and The Band of Joy.

“The events between 1968 and 1980 were the kind of cornerstone for everything I’ve been able to do,” he explains. “They gave me the springboard. All I’m doing is using the same amount of license, with different people, to what we did in 1969.”

Plant also suggests that his recent blues- and folk-influenced projects have help him recapture some of the vocal power that awed fans back in Zeppelin’s heyday. “The great thing about the adventures with Alison, and singing with [Band of Joy’s] Patty [Griffin] and Buddy [Miller], was that I started singing differently,” he maintains. “Somebody said to me [during a recent London concert], ‘You had your big voice back.'”

He adds, “It was good to get it out again. It’s all the same, really, you just have to use the right colors for the right picture.”

The Sensational Space Shifters includes Griffin, members of Plant’s early 2000s outfit The Strange Sensation and Gambian multi-instrumentalist Juldeh Camara. The band is a blend of hard rock, psychedelia, blues, American and British folk, Middle Eastern and African music.

The group has just announced a series of South American tour dates that run from October 18th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to November 9th in Lima, Peru. Let’s hope with see U.S. tour dates in the near future as well.