Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Silver Arrow Records
It's hard not to read the name of Chris Robinson's second post-Black Crowes venture as a jab at his brother Rich: the brothers brawled through two incarnations of the Crowes in the '90s and 2000s, and only now has Chris found his Brotherhood, now that he has once again parted ways with Rich. Of course, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood also strikes up a communal hippie vibe on their 2012 debut Big Moon Ritual, an album they recorded after touring for nearly a year, so it bears all the scars of the road along with a healthy disregard of clock and calendar. It is, as they say, how these things used to be made: bands used to tour forever, then roll themselves into the studio, knock out a session, then head back out on the never-ending road.
Croweology, the Black Crowes's final release before they disappeared on hiatus, reworked some of the band's hard-rocking tracks into easygoing acoustic strums. Singer Chris Robinson has plugged back in for his new project, but the same loose, meditative attitude holds sway. All seven of these tracks lope comfortably past the seven-minute mark, exploring bluesy grooves at leisure and taking detours into gentle psychedelia (Tulsa Yesterday) or barroom funk (Rosalee).
There was a time when The Black Crowes were the 90’s answer to the mid 1970’s Rolling Stones, Generation Y had its very own Steve Marriott, and all that was good about southern rock was bottled between the brothers Robinson and theircohorts. Unfortunately (depending on who you ask), the band had the kind of volatility that only brotherhood can breed between individuals, and the revolving door of guitarists in the band-which was already known for their long winded on-stage jamming–slid from southern rock titan to noodling jam band. With the Crowes on “indefinite hiatus,” Chris Robinson has released an album with former Ryan Adams and the Cardinals lead guitarist Neal Casal (under the Brotherhood moniker) that thoroughly scratches his pysch-jam itches via a string long-winded romps through the land of Birkenstocks and Ben & Jerry’s with Big Moon Ritual.