Veteran musician/performer Rich Robinson will release his latest album this summer. The album, Flux, will be his fourth full length studio recording and eighth overall recording. It will be released Friday, June 24th in stores and online. While audiences wait for its release, Robinson has given them more than a little something to pass the time in the form of four re-issues. Robinson teamed up with Eagle Rock Entertainment this year to re-issue four of his previous recordings. Two of those recordings—Paper and Llama Blues—were released this past February. The other two—Woodstock Sessions Vol. 3 and Through a Crooked Sun—were released earlier this month. Each of the recordings stands out in its own special way and in turn serves as its own welcome introduction to Robinson the solo artist versus Robinson the former Black Crowes member. This is just as evident in Robinson’s 2011 album Through A Crooked Sun as in his other recent re-issues. Robinson even notes in the liner notes of the album’s new re-issue that it shows a completely different side of him than what he was able to show as a member of Black Crowes. That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘Gone Away.’ The song, driven largely by drummer Joe Magistro’s four-on-the-floor, exhibits a number of influences. That will be discussed shortly. ‘Hey Fear’ is another of the album’s offerings that stands out in this album. Its reserved sound and equally introspective lyrics team up to make it one of the album’s most poignant and powerful moments. The southern ground sound of ‘Falling Again’ makes that song stand out in its own way, too. What listeners will note about each of these songs is just how much each song stands out from the other in terms of Robinson and company’s stylistic approach to each composition. That applies just as much in the album’s other compositions as with the pieces noted here. All things considered Eagle Rock Entertainment’s re-issue of Rich Robinson’s Through A Crooked Sun is not only a great listen for Robinson’s fans and fans of Black Crowes but also another good addition to any critic’s list of the year’s top new CD re-issues.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s re-issue of Rich Robinson’s 2011 album Through A Crooked Sun is not the only of his records to be re-issued lately. As a matter of fact it is the fourth of his recordings to be re-issued in recent months. It is just as welcome as those other re-issues in any of his fans’ music libraries. Not only that but it is also yet another of this year’s top new CD re-issues. The reason being that the album in whole does in fact reflect a side of Robinson that was rarely ever heard in his work with Black Crowes. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Gone Away.’ This song is a clear example of what makes Through A Crooked Sun stand out in large part due to its musical arrangement. It could just be this critic’s own take but at least to this critic it hints at a Beatles influence circa Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with its guitar line and solid, driving four-on-the-floor drum line. At the same time one could also argue that that same sound hints at an influence from the likes of Phish and Widespread Panic. Its lyrical content makes it just as intriguing. Robinson sings here, “I fell the distance of the deepest canyon/It took me years to climb back to the top/And now I see the plains right in front of me/I hope to take it all the way to the sea.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “It seems like everything’s gone away now.” This statement seems to be in regards to what the song’s subject sees as he traverses the once familiar landscape. He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “ I feel the comet coming/To take us to a new world/Like a child/Walk a cliff at noon/With new ways unlike this world’s never seen/I hope to last to see it viewed pristine.” Now, if that is indeed the proper interpretation of the verse without lyrics to go by, then it is just as thought-provoking as the song’s opening verse. And again he proceeds to repeat the song’s chorus again, noting that everything familiar has gone away. Again that response to the song’s verse comes across as a commentary of how much things have changed in the world. Except in this case the reference comes across as being more of a social commentary than just in general. That is, again, just this critic’s own take on Robinson’s lyrical content here. The song’s final verse is just as likely to catch listeners’ ears and get them thinking. Together with the song’s other lyrical content and its musical content, the whole of the composition shows why it is one of the album’s most notable offerings. It is not the only piece that stands out on this record. ‘Hey Fear’ stands out just as much.
‘Gone Away’ is an interesting addition to Rich Robinson’s first full-length solo studio recording. It is not the only notable offering. ‘Hey Fear’ is another of the album’s most notable inclusions. As with ‘Gone Away’ this song is worth noting because of its own musical and lyrical content. In regards to its musical content, said content is so notable because it is the polar opposite of that in the album’s opener. Whereas that song had a more classic rock-oriented sound, this piece boasts more of a folksy, Americana sort of sound. That’s just the tip of the song’s proverbial musical iceberg. A close listen reveals elements within the song’s instrumentation that stand out in each part. For instance, the drums here don’t sound nearly as open as in ‘Gone Away.’ That is the case even as the song builds into its final minutes. They cut through in those final minutes. But they never have that more airy sound that is evident in the album’s opener. Just as interesting to note here is the prominence of the song’s bass line. There are sections within the song in which Robinson’s bass line (Robinson covers both the guitar and bass line in this song)presents its own surprise melody. It’s subtle, too; so subtle in fact that it will take listeners a few times to fully realize what they are hearing. When they do, they will most assuredly appreciate its balance with the rest of the song’s instrumentation. Even the manner in which the song gradually builds from its acoustic to its more bombastic electric side stands out. Whether through these elements or any of the others within the song’s musical content, it can be said of the song’s musical content in whole that it does more than its part in making this song stand out. The song’s musical arrangement and instrumentation is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical content is just as notable. In regards to its lyrical content Robinson sings here of overcoming the fear that so easily cripples so many people, possibly including himself. That is clear as he sings, “Hey there, fear/You’re always in tow/Never too far behind/Your presence is always known/Will you live to carry on/Living underneath my wing/Will you finally move along/Watch the distance come between/Hey fear/Hey fear/Time to finally move along/Watching distance grow between.” This is the song’s subject (or Robinson himself) addressing the fears that have crippled himself (or herself) and saying in no uncertain terms that he/she will not let it control him/her anymore. The victory over that fear is illustrated especially well as Robinson, [Joe] Magistro, and [Steve] Molitz build the song to the wide open, bombastic sound presented in its ending minutes. It’s one more way in which this song stands out. Together with the song’s musical content, both elements combine to make it one more of the album’s most notable inclusions because it is also one of the album’s most emotionally powerful and engaging opuses. It still is not the last of the album’s most notable tracks. ‘Falling Again’ is another piece that proves the overall importance of this album.
‘Gone Away’ and ‘Hey Fear’ are both important inclusions to Through A Crooked Sun in their own right. One mixes elements of rock’s golden era with a more modern classic sound and crosses it with some rather insightful lyrics. The other offers its own insightful lyrics and matches said lyrics with some notably powerful musical content. The two songs together form their own solid foundation for the re-issue of Rich Robinson’s debut solo record. As important as they are to this record they are not its only notable compositions. ‘Falling Again’ is just as important to the album as the noted songs and those not noted here. It stands out because once again it presents Robinson’s broad musical talents and influences. This song is pure southern rock with elements of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and others of that ilk in terms of its musical content. That sound, which differs from anything else on this record is only pat of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its music. Robinson sings in the song’s lead verse, “I hear you falling again/And you’re brining me down/But that’s not where I’m going/There’s no one around you this time/But you haven’t noticed yet/When you do/Will you speak softly/It’s time that I’m rollin’/No bringin’ me down/The news I’ve been hearin’/It’s all over town/Tales of a sad man/Who doesn’t know he’s out/Spend his time a’ reelin’/In a world of doubt.” This, again, is only this critic’s interpretation of this song. But it comes across as if Robinson is commenting on all of the world’s negativity both in the things people say every day to one another and to the news in today’s 24/7 news cycle. He comes across as saying he’s so tired of it and doesn’t want to fall down with all of that negativity. If indeed that is the case then it’s a deep statement made in a very small amount of space. To that extent, Richardson deserves a round of applause. He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Back when you told me a lie/Do you realize/You were lookin’ straight in the mirror/Far be it from me to explain/What you’re doing now/Go on and on forever.” From here he returns to the song’s chorus. That second verse seems rather self explanatory. It is a commentary about people lying to themselves when they attempt to lie to others. An again, the song’s chorus drives home the message of the song’s subject trying to get away from all of that because it is only serving to make a person’s world fall down around him/her. It is yet another topic to which any listener can relate. And Robinson’s gentle delivery of these lines—believe it or not—actually heightens the impact of the song’s lyrical subject matter that much more. Keeping this in mind the combination of that vocal delivery, the song’s thoughtful lyrics, and its equally enjoyable musical foundation makes clear why this song stands out as one more of the album’s most notable compositions. When the song is set against the other pieces noted here, and the pieces not noted, the record in whole shows with full clarity just why it is another welcome addition to the personal music libraries of Robinson’s fans and also why it is one more of this year’s top new CD re-issues.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of Rich Robinson’s debut solo album Through A Crooked Sun is not the only one of his records to be re-issued this year. It is however, one of the year’s top new CD re-issues along with the other three records that have been re-issued from his catalogue. From its wide variety of musical styles to its equally broad spectrum of lyrical themes, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Robinson’s solo work. Altogether, the mix of the album’s musical and lyrical content makes this record one more great addition to the home music library of any of Robinson’s fans and an equally enjoyable listen for fans while they wait for his next new album, which is, again due out this summer. Richardson will hit the road in May in support of all of these albums. His upcoming tour begins May 12th in Dallas, TX and also includes a performance in North Carolina on June 30th. That performance will be at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC alongside Bad Company and Joe Walsh. Robinson’s complete, current tour schedule is available online now along with more information on his new re-issues, his upcoming album Flux and all of his latest news at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.