Chris Robinson Brotherhood

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:: Weir/Robinson/Greene Trio ::
:: Boulder Theater :: June 2 ::
:: Mishawaka Amphitheatre :: June 3 ::
:: Chautauqua Auditorium :: June 4 ::
:: Chris Robinson Brotherhood ::
:: Cervantes Masterpiece :: July 13 ::

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Big Moon Ritual

Silver Arrow/Megaforce Records

4 out of 5 stars

 

In October of last year, during an exclusive interview with The Marquee, Chris Robinson said that his then very new band The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, wasn’t ready to churn out an album just yet.

The wisdom, Robinson said, was to wait until the group had played their material a lot more live and allowed the songs to reveal their own path. “If you have a new project, the conventional wisdom is that you make a record to start, right?” Robinson said in that interview. “But that’s not what we’re looking for… If you go and make an album right off the bat, you’ve already made decisions on some things that will probably change once you’ve played 50 or 60 shows. In my mind, I was like, ‘Let’s go out and see what this band is going to be. Let’s go see who we are.”

The downside to that is that fans, hungry for new material, will be let down a bit by Big Moon Ritual. But the upside is that these songs, having already been road tested, have a flow and feel that simply could not have been hammered out early on in the studio. The songs needed room to breathe first.

And breathe they have. The album is only seven songs long, but not one of those songs come in at less than seven minutes in length. The “freak and roll” that Robinson patented with the Crowes has, for this project, turned much more heavily to the freaky side, but due to the fact that Robinson is being supported by ace players, including Neal Casal (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals) and Crowes’ keyboardist Adam MacDougall, means that they’re exploring, but not at all blindly. Yes, they jam, but not noodly free-form jamming. They’re actually saying volumes with their instrumental work.

Casal’s playing, particularly on “Reflections of A Broken Mirror,” where he plays with an obvious Jerry Garcia type of tone, is magical and the slow song is one of the disc’s highlights. Robinson’s writing is personal, naked and exposed on the album, and his voice — that fucking voice — is as strong as ever. In his decades as a rock star, Robinson has found that perfect balance, where he can sing right at the red line of the vocal tachometer, without blowing the engine.

This is a wonderful album, I just wish there was more new material on it. But the band has announced that in September they will release a “companion” album to this, titled The Magic Door and hopefully opening that door that will provide some new cosmic explorations.                                                     — BFJ

 

:: Weir/Robinson/Greene Trio ::

:: Boulder Theater :: June 2 ::

:: Mishawaka Amphitheatre :: June 3 ::

:: Chautauqua Auditorium :: June 4 ::

 

:: Chris Robinson Brotherhood ::

:: Cervantes Masterpiece :: July 13 ::

 

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