Robinson’s ‘Flux’ Could Be One Of 2016’s Top New Records

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Universal Music Group/Circle Sound Records

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group/Circle Sound Records

Rich Robinson has been quite busy ever since he and his now former Black Crowes band mates parted ways last year.  He re-issued a number of his previous recordings this year.  And just last week he released his latest full-length studio recording Flux.  His fourth full-length studio recording it is yet another offering that both Black Crowes fans and Robinson’s fans will appreciate.  That is thanks to the variety of sounds presented in the album’s musical arrangements and its equally ear-catching lyrical content.  Both elements are important within the course of each song.  Collectively though, they make the whole of this 13-song set an experience that is another impressive effort from Robinson.

Rich Robinson’s new full-length studio recording Flux is yet another offering that his own fans will appreciate just as much the Black Crowes fans out there.  It is a record that, in whole, is another impressive effort from Robinson.  One example of what makes the record such an impressive new effort from Robinson is the record’s fourth entry ‘Everything’s Alright.’  In examining the song’s musical content, drummer Joe Magistro’s steady, pulsing four-on-the-floor rhythm serves as the song’s foundation.  Matt Slocum strengthens that foundation even more with his work on the keys.  Robinson’s vocal delivery is the finishing touch to the song’s musical arrangement.  It really stands out here both with and without the added distortion in the song’s verses.  The combination of those elements gives the song in whole a sound that Black Keys fans will appreciate.  It is a sound that even with that roots rock sound, really stands out from the rest of the songs on this record.  Of course the song’s musical content is just one layer of the song.  It also boasts lyrical content that will catch listeners’ ears just as much.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Yeah, darling my constellation/Do you bring hope for oppression/I can see my midnight sky/What is this you’re bringing/What is this you’re meaning?/I guess it’s not for me to know/Either way you’re a sight to see/Either way you’re beautiful/But what is this you’re bringing/What is this you’re meaning?”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse of great, positive vibes with mentions of mythical ships and reeds beneath the trees (or so this critic seemed to interpret without a lyrics booklet).  Through it all the underlying message of positive energy flowing from person to person is ever-present.  This includes the song’s chorus in which Robinson sings along the equally talented Daniella Cotton, “And I feel/I can feel/The stars are aligning for to bring me life/And I/I can feel your head on me/Moving closer to mine/And I/I can feel the love that grows and will give me sight/And I/I can feel it’s alright/Everything is alright.”  Simply put the song’s lyrical content is one of optimism.  It is a message that the world needs more than ever today.  That message couples with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement to make it a clear example of what makes Flux such an impressive new offering from Robinson.  It also reveals the song to be one of the album’s best compositions.  It isn’t the album’s only standout song, though.  ‘Which Way Your Wind Blows’ is another one of this record’s truly standout compositions.

‘Everything’s Alright’ is a clear example of what makes Flux such an impressive new offering from Rich Robinson.  That is due to the song’s upbeat musical arrangement, which stands out in its own right from the rest of the album’s compositions, and the song’s equally optimistic lyrical content.  Each element is important in its own right to the song in whole.  Collectively though, the pair make this song a clear example of what makes Flux stand out.  They also combine to make the song itself stand out as on of the album’s best songs.  It isn’t the album’s only standout composition, though.  There are plenty of other notable compositions featured in this album including ‘Which Way Your Wind Blows.’  This song stands out just as much from ‘Everything’s Alright’ just as much as it does from everything else featured in this record.  That is due in part to the song’s bluesy musical arrangement.  Listeners will be interested to learn that Robinson handled not only the guitars and vocals on this song but also bass and some of the song’s percussion.  Magistro handled the remainder of the song’s duties on drums and percussion.  The duo gels smoothly throughout the song.  Of course the fact that Robinson himself manned the boards for this record didn’t hurt either.  While the duo’s work (and that of Matt Slocum on keys) does plenty to make this song another example of what makes the song (and Flux in the bigger picture) stand out, it isn’t all that makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as worth noting as its musical arrangement.  Robinson sings here, “Hey you/Runnin’ down that wall/Who ya’ sneaking’ from/Who ya’ scared of/The Captain thought you showed/You showed it all/Are you aware my friend/Are you feeling tall/There’s no one that will tell you/What you need to see/You understand my sound/Get your burden out/Fly….the only way you leave/Call it destiny.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “And I will be standing/Right beside you/And walk away from/We’ll walk away from/And I know/That you don’t really want to/Stop the tear down/Stop the tear down.”  From there, the song repeats its chorus before finishing off in full musical fashion sans lyrics.  Keeping this in mind Robinson leaves plenty of room for discussion in regards to this song’s lyrical content.  That isn’t a bad thing, though.  It just means that it gives even more reason for listeners to hear the song.  In hearing the song listeners might not agree fully on the story or message behind the song’s lyrics, but they will agree that its musical arrangement truly stands out in its own right.  The two elements together make this song stand out just as much as ‘Everything’s Alright’ and any of the album’s other songs.  It also shows just as much why Flux is such an impressive new offering from Rich Robinson.  It is still not the only remaining example of what makes Flux such an impressive return for Robinson, either.  The album’s closer ‘Sleepwalker’ stands out just as much as ‘Everything’s Alright’ and ‘Which Way Your Wind Blows’ if not more.

‘Everything’s Alright’ and ‘Which Way Your Wind Blows’ are both key examples of what makes Flux an impressive new offering from Rich Robinson.  That is because both songs stand out from each other and from the rest of the songs included in this record.  This is due to both the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content.  They are just two examples of what makes Flux such an impressive new effort from Robinson.  The album’s closer ‘Sleepwalker’ stands out just as much as those songs if not more so.  As with those songs the main reason for that is the song’s musical arrangement.  It starts out in very surprising fashion with a massive wall of sound from Robinson and his fellow musicians.  That wall of sound ultimately proves deceptive, though as it then leads to a much more mellow sound that is akin to an arrangement that one might expect from King’s X.  King’s X in the same mention of Rich Robinson?  Believe it or not.  Robinson himself even conjures thoughts of King’s X guitarist Ty Tabor both with his own work on guitar and his vocal delivery.  His work on the song’s bass line compliments the guitar line quite well, too.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of its whole.  The song’s lyrical content hints at encouraging listeners to think for themselves. This theme seems to run through the course of the song’s second verse, too.  It is a perfect fit with the song’s musical arrangement.  Together, the two elements make this song a proper finale for Flux and one more prime example of what makes Flux such a welcome return for Robinson.  One would be remiss to ignore the other songs featured in this record.  ‘Music That Will Lift Me’ bears something of a country vibe in its arrangement.  And its lyrical content is just as uplifting as the song’s title hints.  The album’s opener ‘The Upstairs Land’ boasts a roots rock style’ that fans of Robinson’s work with his Black Crowes band mates will enjoy.  And ‘Eclipse The Night’ will take listeners right back to the golden era of the 1960s with its sound.  That still isn’t all of the album’s featured songs either.  There are seven other songs not noted here.  Those songs, when partnered with the rest of the songs noted here, make an album that is potentially one of the year’s top new rock records if not overall records.

Flux, Rich Robinson’s fourth full-length solo record, is potentially of the year’s top new rock records if not overall records.  That is due to the variety of musical styles exhibited over the course of its thirteen compositions.  The songs’ lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  The two elements join together in this record to make it a presentation that both Black Crowes fans and Rich Robinson fans alike will appreciate.  They join together to make the record, again, potentially one of the year’s top new rock records and if not overall records.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Flux is available online now along with Robinson’s latest news and more at:








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Robinson’s ‘Through A Crooked Sun’ Is A Straight Hit

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

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:








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Robinson’s Re-Issues Are Must Haves For His Fans And Black Crowes Fans

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/UMG

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/UMG

Early last year the Black Crowes announced that after more than two decades making music together the seminal Georgia-based rock band was calling it quits.  For some the split came as a surprise.  For others it was less of a surprise.  That is because brothers Chris and Rich—the band’s core—had been busy with their own projects in the years leading up to the band’s breakup.  There had also been some not so hidden tensions between members of the band in the years leading up to its finale.  Considering all of those factors, the band’s split becomes even less of a shock.     Even with the Black Crowes officially rock history the brothers Robinson are anything but done making and releasing music.  Just last year Chris released his latest album under the Chris Robinson Brotherhood moniker Betty’s Blends Volume 2.  And last month Rich Robinson re-issued two of his classic recordings in the form of Paper and Llama Blues.  Whether one is a fan of the Black Crowes or of Rich both of these vinyl re-issues prove to be items that audiophiles on both sides of specific aisle will appreciate.  That is thanks in large part to the recordings’ featured songs.  That will be discussed at more length shortly.  The recordings’ sound and packaging are just as important to their presentations as their featured songs.  Each recording comes complete with a card for a digital download of the recordings.  That element rounds out the recordings and brings everything full circle.  All things considered Rich Robinson’s new vinyl re-issues are great pieces for any Black Crowes fan.

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/UMG

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/UMG+

Rich Robinson’s new vinyl re-issues of Paper and Llama Blues are both great pieces for any Black Crowes fan.  This is thanks in large part to the songs featured on each of the recordings.  This is especially the case with Robinson’s double-LP recording Paper.  Richardson notes in the album’s liner notes the full story behind Paper’s creation and near loss thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  Luckily, as he goes on to note, he was able to save the album’s basic tracks, thus allowing them to be re-recorded last year along with some bonus songs that went on to be included here.  The end result is a seventeen-song, double-LP album full of great songs for Black Crowes fans and classic rock fans alike.  That is because the songs mix both elements together from start to finish in this record for an experience that will keep listeners engaged all the way through.  The very story behind the songs is in itself more than enough reason to note the importance of the album’s songs.  The songs, when coupled with the story, make them all the more important.  In regards to Llama Blues this recording is a re-issue in a purer sense of the term.  This four-song EP was originally released on December 5th, 2011.  Its songs are another great collection of compositions for audiences with their blues-infused sound.  They are exactly the same numbers included in the EP’s original release.  While there are only four songs here, their total run time tops the sixteen minute mark.  Sixteen minutes of classic twelve-bar blues-infused rock is sixteen minutes worth of music that is well worth having regardless of whether or not listeners already own this EP.  Keeping all of this in mind, the songs that are featured throughout Rich Robinson’s new vinyl recordings show in their own way why they are important to the overall presentation of these vinyl re-issues.  Whether one is experiencing them for the first time (as most will be in the case of Paper) or for the fiftieth (or more) audiences will agree that the records’ songs are an extremely important part of the records.  They are just one part of what makes them such a joy for fans of the Black Crowes and the Robinson brothers.  The records’ collective sound and packaging are just as important to their presentation as their songs.

The songs that are featured on both of Rich Robinson’s new vinyl recordings are important in themselves to the records’ overall presentation.  In the case of Paper that is especially the case because the album almost never even got released after the events of Superstorm Sandy.  That vinyl’s release marks the first time that any of Robinson’s fans and fans of the Black Crowes have ever gotten to hear the songs in question.  In the case of Llama Blues the songs are just as enjoyable for fans that already own the EP as for those that might be less familiar with Robinson’s solo work or even that of the Black Crowes.  As important as the records’ songs are to their presentation they are not the only important element of the records.  The records’ collective packaging and sound are just as important to their presentation as the records’ songs.  The records sound great on vinyl; especially Llama Blues.  There is something magical about hearing that classic blues-infused sound and the static sound of the vinyl especially considering how recently the EP was released.  The record’s packaging adds even positive vibes to the listening experience here with the picture of the mixing board on the cover and the picture of Rich recording the EP on the back of the package.  It may not seem all that important.  But there is something about the two elements that enhances the overall listening experience with the songs’ vintage sound.  Paper’s single gatefold packaging is highlighted by an original painting created by Robinson.  There is no notation inside the album’s package in regards to its title.  But there is something about the painting’s rich, warm colors and the fluidity of the picture’s brush strokes that works quite well with this album’s songs.  There are even elements of his painting inside the gatefold package.  They are combined with pictures of Robinson performing.  It continues that fluidity, which again flows into the album’s songs.  Listeners will hear and feel that fluidity for themselves when they listen to this double-LP vinyl set.  It is just one more way in which the packaging for these vinyl re-issues proves to be just as important to their presentation as their featured songs.  Of course the packaging and songs are only a collective portion of what makes Robinson’s new re-issues so important for his fans and fans of the Black Crowes.  Each re-issue comes with a card for a digital download of said records.  That rounds out their overall presentations.

The songs featured in each of Rich Robinson’s new re-issues and the records’ packaging are both equally important to their overall presentations.  While they play directly into one another they are only a portion of what makes these re-issues so important for Robinson’s fans and those of the Black Crowes.  Both re-issues come complete with a card for a digital download of said recording.  The downloads are provided courtesy of and Noiseland.  This inclusion means that whether one is more a fan of vinyl or of CDs or even digital fans can now own both recordings in all three formats thanks to the noted companies and to Eagle Rock Entertainment and Universal Music Group.  It also means that audiences can take the recordings with them wherever they go whether it be at home or out and about.  So for all intents and purposes it could be argued that that download cards are in fact bonuses for fans that purchase the re-issues.  Keeping that in mind, the bonus download cards come together with the records’ songs and their packaging to complete their presentations and show in whole why they are pieces that Robinson’s fans and fans of the Black Crowes should have in their own home music libraries.

Rich Robinson’s re-released recordings of Llama Blues and Paper are both available now in their new vinyl presentations.  They are both pieces that Robinson’s fans should have in their music libraries just as much as fans of the Black Crowes.  This is proven primarily through the recordings’ songs and their packaging, which ties directly into the music.  The download cards that come with each record serve as great bonuses for fans.  They allow fans to enjoy the recordings not just in their new vinyl presentations but in digital form and even on CD when they burn the files to disc.  They round out the re-issues’ presentations.  Keeping this in mind both re-issues prove, once again, why they are pieces that fans of both Rich Robinson and the Black Crowes will want to have in their own home music libraries.  They are available now in stores and online and can b ordered online direct via Rich Robinson’s online store at  More information on these and other recordings from Rich Robinson is available online along with all of Robinson’s latest news at:






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Blackberry Smoke Holds All The Roses Among So Many Other Albums With Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Rounder Records

Courtesy: Rounder Records

Atlanta, Georgia has been known for decades as one of America’s major hotbeds for musical talent. Much like Austin, Seattle, and Los Angeles it has produced some of the biggest names in the industry over the years. Those names come from nearly every genre of the music world. They include the likes of: Sevendust, Stuck Mojo, Collective Soul, Zac Brown Band, Black Crowes, and so many others. The list goes on and on. It could take days or even weeks to name them all. For the case of this review, the focus is set on the Southern Rock Band Blackberry Smoke. For roughly fifteen years now, the members of Blackberry Smoke–Charlie Starr (vocals/guitar), Richard Turner (bass/vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar/vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards)–have been making music and touring. Of those roughly fifteen years together, Blackberry Smoke has released three full-length albums, the most recent of which–The Whippoorwill–was released on Zac Brown Band’s own Southern Ground Records in 2012. This past February, the band released its fourth full length album titled Holding All The Roses. The album was released via Rounder Records. For those that might not be so familiar with the band’s body of work, Holding All The Roses serves as a good introduction to the band. And it is just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its work up to this point. The sound spread across the album’s dozen tracks shows influences from some of the greatest southern rock bands of the 20th Century including: The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Crowes, Doobie Brothers, and others of that ilk. While the influence of said bands is there from start to finish on this record, Blackberry Smoke still maintains its own identity in each song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ The same can be said of the album’s title track and the somewhat sexually charged ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ These three works in themselves more than exemplify what makes Holding All The Roses such a joy. By themselves they are just a minute fraction of what makes it such an enjoyable record, too. There are nine other tracks from which audiences will find their own favorite(s) on this record. Those songs, coupled with the trio noted here, prove Holding All The Roses in the end to be one of the best new rock and country records of 2015.

Blackberry Smoke’s fourth full length album Holding All The Roses is one of this year’s best new rock and country records. There are some issues here and there throughout the record in terms of its production values. But they are not enough to make HATR unworthy of being heard. From the album’s opener to its end, the songs that make up this album make it one of those rare records that audiences will actually want to listen to without skipping even one song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ On the song’s musical side, audiences will hear a clear influence from famed classic rock band Black Crowes throughout the song. It could even be argued that the song’s bridge, which features quite the guitar solo, bears a rather noticeable Lynyrd Skynyrd influence. Lyrically, it offers audiences just as much of a punch with front man Charlie Starr seemingly addressing certain types who simply don’t want to change their ways. Whether it be those musical acts that refuse to change and those that push said albums or the sheep that give in to everything that is fed to them whether in terms of music, politics, etc.–as front man Charlie Starr sings about in both the song’s first and second verse– it is a clear statement that hits quite a few chords, no pun intended. One could even argue that it even indirectly addresses those audiences that expected this album to be just like the band’s previous released. As Starr sings in the song’s opening verse, “Why’s it got to be the same damn thing/Same damn song and everybody wants to sing/Same sons of b****** still riggin’ the game/They sell the same old faces with brand new names/No matter if I’m wrong or right/I ain’t losin’ sleep tonight/I’ve heard it all before/I can’t take it anymore/If that’s all you got/Let me help you find the door.” The song’s second verse seems to address those sheep that believe everything that is fed to them, from music to news, to politics and more with Starr singing, “Here we go diggin’ the same damn ditch/Just line ’em up/Can’t tell you which one’s which/Standin’ in the back with a s***-eating grin/They were buyin’ it once/I bet they’ll buy it again.” Starr hits on so many subjects with so few words in this song. And he hits the nail right on the head, too. It’s a sharp, yet in an odd way, slightly lighthearted indictment of said subjects that ironically will in fact have Blackberry Smoke’s own fans singing along. One can only hope that in singing along, the band’s own fans will catch the message being presented by Starr and his band mates here rather than just taking the song for its musical side. Those that take both the song’s musical and lyrical side into full consideration will agree just how important it is both in itself and to the album in whole.

‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door) is a solid opener for Blackberry Smoke’s latest full-length record. Its statement urging people and bands who refuse to change to go away is sharp yet witty at the same time. And it ironically will have the band’s own fans singing along every time. One can only hope that said fans will catch the message embedded within the song and take it to heart in catching it. Those fans that do catch the message in question, coupled with the song’s infectious musical side will agree that it is just one part of the whole that makes HATR one of this year’s best new rock and country records. The album’s title track is just as important to the whole of the record. Much like the album’s opener, it boasts its own classic rock influences yet still continues to maintain the band’s own identity, too. The song’s driving, 2/4 tempo will instantly have audiences dancing and clapping along. Having hooked audiences with it musical side, Starr and company–Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards) make just as powerful a statement with the song’s lyrical side. Starr sings in the song’s first verse about a subject overcoming all of his or her odds and coming out on top, fittingly “holding all the roses” just as a winner would. Starr Sings, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost/I don’t think it’s even gonna be close/Your rabbit’s foot and your four-leaf clover/Throw them all away and start all over/Here I am see me coming around/Swinging out wide with the hammer down/There I go watch me leave you behind/Holding all the roses on the other side.” The subject here is addressing those that called the odds against him or her, proving all those people wrong as he or she holds the proverbial roses of a winner. Speaking of those odds, Starr goes on to sing of overcoming the odds as he sings, “The odds against me were 20 to 1/Carry that weight like it weighs a ton/Ain’t no luck in a gasoline rainbow/Come on, drop that rag/Away we go.” He comes across as saying his subject is using the weight of those odds as motivation to keep pushing on to the very end. Such lyrics are words that will reach so many listeners and potentially have quite the impact. It will leave listeners saying if Starr’s subject can press on against all odds then so can the band’s fans. The song’s driving musical side added to the mix, the song in whole shows once more exactly why it is one more enjoyable and equally important part of the whole that leaves Holding All The Roses in fact holding all the roses on any critic’s list come year’s end.

For all of the seriousness of HATR’s opener and its title track, Blackberry Smoke isn’t all work and no play on its new album. It also boasts some fun moments, too. One example of that lies in the song ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ The song’s musical side shows obvious influence from The Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers Band and others of that ilk yet once again maintain’s Blackberry Smoke’s own identity along the way. Lyrically, it will put just as much of a smile on listeners’ faces as the music alone. Starr sings about a woman who definitely gets the subject going in all the right ways so to speak. He writes of said woman, “She knows me well and never fails/She knows just how to put the wind back in my sails/She’s got the key to set me free/It’s just so easy to see/The way she makes me rock and roll again/Put the dirty in my mind again/Ain’t nothin’ to it/But she pulls me back in/My baby made me rock and roll again/Yes, she made me rock and roll again.” The rest of the song goes on in much the same fashion, lyrically speaking, with Starr noting of that same woman putting a swagger back in the subject’s step, and gets him moving. The song’s musical side boasts its own swagger, which perfectly complements Starr’s lyrics. Both sides of the song taken into full consideration, they show that Blackberry Smoke can be just as fun as it can be serious. Because of this, it proves to be one more example of what makes HATR such an enjoyable work for every rock and country fan. Taken into consideration with the likes of the album’s title track, its opener, and those pieces not noted here, it proves to be one more piece of an album that again, holds all of its own roses among the masses so far this year.

Blackberry Smoke is currently touring in support of HATR. It is in the last leg of the North American leg of its tour, which wraps up May 24th in Monteagle, Tennessee. The band will take a few days off to rest and recharge after before heading overseas for the European leg of its tour, which kicks off May 29th in Munchen, Germany. After finishing off that leg, the band will return stateside again on June 19th in Alpharetta, Georgia. Fans will be able to pick up HATR at any of the band’s upcoming live dates. In hearing the band live and on its new album, audiences that haven’t yet heard the band’s music will agree, too that HATR more than deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock and country albums come December. Fans can check out Blackberry Smoke’s latest tour dates online now, along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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Black Crowes Announce New Tour, Live Release

Photo Credit:  Rod Snyder

Photo Credit: Rod Snyder

Chris Robinson and his band mates in the Black Crowes will be hitting the road again in 2013.  In connection to the upcoming tour, the band has announced that it will also offer a vinyl and digital release of its live release, Wiser for the Time.  The band will release the live recording via Silver Arrow/Megaforce Records on March 19th.  The band’s tour, labeled the “Lay Down With Number 13” tour, will kick off March 24th in Manchester, U.K.  It will take the band through the U.K. through March 30th before coming back to the U.S. April 2nd – May 4th

Tickets for the first leg of the band’s tour will go on sale Friday, January 11th at 10:13 local time.  Ticket information will be available tomorrow, January 1st on the band’s website,  Fans can also go to the band’s website and its Facebook page, to get the band’s current tour lineup and all of its latest upcoming tour dates.

The band’s upcoming vinyl release of its live recording, Wiser for the Time, will be on a four-disc, eight side set.  It will contain a total of twenty-six songs.  Fifteen of those songs will be acoustic.  The remaining eleven songs will be electric.  The collection of songs comes from the band’s sold out five-night stand in New York City from 2010.  The set will also be released as a double album digital download.

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Chris Robinson Brotherhood Puts The Hip In Neo-Hippie

Courtesy: Silver Arrow Records

Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s new album, “Big Moon Ritual” has officially placed itself into this reviewer’s list of 2012’s best new releases.  This album takes listeners back to the days of David Crosby, The Grateful Dead, and so many other great classic bands and artists.  This is a record that’s perfect not just for that Summer road trip, but also for a casual Fall afternoon.  It’s one of those multi-purpose records to which audiences can listen any time of the year, and simply relax. 

‘Tulsa Yesterday’ is the perfect opener for this album. It’s proof that music is the most powerful drug of all.  Who needs chemicals and other junk when one has this near twelve minute jam session?  One need simply turn off everything around, save for this song, and it will take one into another world all by itself.  Forget the lyrics.  The music is what counts here.  Robinson and his band mates let the music flow from their fingers as if it was some kind of naturally flowing energy.  It’s almost the kind of thing to which a person could fall asleep while they listen.

“Big Moon Ritual” is impressive on its opener, to say the least.  It continues to impress on its second song, ‘Rosalee.’  ‘Rosalee’ has a little bit of a funk vibe about it.  Again, the musicianship of the band shines bright throughout the song.  Everything is perfectly balanced in this song.  And the outer space sound effects added in to the experimental sounds of the band make this another standout song on what is a standout album in whole.

‘Tulsa Yesterday’ and ‘Rosalee’ are wonderful pieces to the musical puzzle that is “Big Moon Ritual.”  They are only part of that puzzle though.  When put alongside the album’s remaining five songs, they combine to make an album that isn’t just a collection of songs.  It is a true musical experience.  This is one of those rare albums that will offer fans something different with each listen because of all of its tiny nuances.  Every track has something special to offer listeners.  And just as every track has its own identity and musical joy to share, it will bring each listener their own special experience.  That is what music is all about.  And that is what makes “Big Moon Ritual” one of the top albums of 2012.

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood is currently touring in support of “Big Moon Ritual.”  Fans in North Carolina should mark their calendars for Sunday, September 30th.  The band will be making a stop at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina that day.  Fans in other states can keep track of the band’s tour dates and more online at,, and

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Chris Robinson Brother hood announces tour dates to support debut album

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood has officially announced dates for its tour in support of its debut album, “Big Moon Ritual.”  The tour will take the band to thirty-nine cities across the country throughout the Summer and into the Fall.  The tour kicks off this Thursday in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will then take the band through a handful of dates in the southeast, before heading to the midwest.  From there, the band will swing back to the east coast, starting in the Northeast and head down the coast, including a pair of stops in North Carolina.

North Carolina fans will get to see the band live July 1st in Winston-Salem at Ziggy’s.  Then it will make a trip to Wilming to perform July 3rd at the Greenfield Lake Amphtheater in Wilmington. 

The band will perform its single, ‘Rosalee’ on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno June 5th.  That’s the same day that the album hits store shelves.  “Big Moon Ritual” will be followed up by a companion album, “The Magic Door”, in September.  More information on the band is available online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at