Artist: Rich Robinson
Label: Eagle Rock Records
Release Date: 06/24/2016
Rich Robinson’s body of work with the Black Crowes can unquestionably stand up against any level of scrutiny as one of the finest representations of American bred rock n’ roll. Dating back to 1989 when Robinson and brother Chris formed Mr. Crowes Garden, soon to evolve into the Black Crowes, the bands catalog demonstrated the Robinson brother’s prowess as rockers and songwriters. So, what happens when the inevitable split happens and the solo careers take formation? Fortunately, at least in this situation, you end up with two promising bands, Chris Robinson’s, trippy Brotherhood, and Rich Robinson’s, straight from the loins, pure-bred, rock band.
Yes, the similarities to the Black Crowes catalog are evident throughout Flux but it still has its own undeniable character. Once I listened to it, I instantly wanted to get stoned and listen to it again and again – I didn’t get stoned, but I did listen to it repeatedly because I wanted to be taken someplace else, and then I realized the music alone could do that. Flux is loaded with that vibe that just transports you back to the ‘60’s while still sounding fresh, vibrant, new, and relevant.
While Robinson’s voice doesn’t have that same gnawing bite to it that brother Chris’ does, what it does have is a soothing, comforting flow evidenced in, “Music That Will Lift Me,” a lilting, lifting track that slowly evolves into a straight out rock song and then settles back into an infectious refrain. “Eclipse The Night” teases you with a jangling guitar intro and then quickly plunges into a pulsating rocker, while “Time To Leave” is a beautiful ballad that showcases Robinson’s softer side of rock as does the slightly more intense, “Surrender.” However, it is the stunning how “Which Way Your Wind Blows” defines everything that is ultra-hip about this CD. Starting out with a fuzzed out, Hendrixesque guitar intro supported throughout by Joe Magistro’s looping drum fills, “Which Way Your Wind Blows” showcases Robinson’s most intense lyrics and vocals as it slithers and slides through it’s bluesy chorus slowly dripping back into another verse. Crazy guitar riffs and hypnotic backbeats make this one wildly cool track.
I will forever be grateful for all that the Black Crowes gave rock n’ roll and I hate seeing my favorite band break up, but releases like Robinson’s go a long way in easing the pain.