Tag Archives: Chris Robinson

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Gov’t Mule and Chris Robinson Brotherhood Come to SummerStage

May 16th, 2017

Local guitar hero Warren Haynes (vocals and guitar) doesn’t know how to sit still. He’s seemingly always performing, recording, touring or sitting in with someone else. And with a new Gov’t Mule album, the politically charged Revolution Come … Revolution Go, recorded last year on Election Day, due to arrive in just a few weeks, one of the hardest working men in show business is back out on the road with comrades in bluesy Southern-rock jam-band arms Matt Abts (drums and vocals), Danny Louis (keys and vocals) and Jorgen Carlsson (bass). Tomorrow night at SummerStage in Central Park, Gov’t Mule (above, performing “Blind Man in the Dark” at Lockn’) arrive with the like-minded Chris Robinson Brotherhood—the former Black Crowes frontman (vocals and guitar) alongside Neal Casal (guitar and vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys and vocals), Tony Leone (drums) and Jeff Hill (bass). The CRB’s most recent release, Betty’s Self-Rising Southern Blends, Vol. 3 (stream it below), out in March, is filled with live soundboard mixes by famed Grateful Dead audio engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson, terrifically capturing the band live, which just so happens to be the best way to experience Gov’t Mule and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. So don’t miss them live tomorrow night at SummerStage.

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Chris Robinson Brotherhood Take Their Time at the Space at Westbury

November 21st, 2016

Chris Robinson Brotherhood – the Space at Westbury – November 18, 2016

(Photo: Jay Blakesberg)

(Photo: Jay Blakesberg)


I’ve seen the Chris Robinson Brotherhood do their pie-eyed, soulful thing plenty now, and the word I keep going back to is unhurried, which doesn’t mean slow, for this band can cook up a good old rock and roll, blues or country racket when called for. But that does mean you go at their pace: a deliberate, expansive set or two of deeply fleshed out and not-a-little-cosmic Americana that insists you groove in its orbit or that you politely leave the rocket ship. It may not be for everybody, but in every year since the band’s 2011 inception, yielding to what the CRB does has been rewarding for the willing listener.

Robinson and his band of aces—guitarist Neal Casal, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Jeff Hill and drummer Tony Leone—throw back to a time when rock, blues, country and folk were painted with Day-Glo and didn’t mind a layer of stardust. Their music feels nostalgic but embraceable and honest. Those wistful moments that might sound sad or might sound accepting depend on how a guitar string is plucked, meshed with those more celebratory, up-tempo, let’s-kick-it type of songs. They can be short statements or long statements or really long statements, protracted with jam segments that can veer toward an ambient soundscape or burn with the gnarly guitars of a Tuesday night at the roadhouse.

They’re encyclopedic too, and that reach goes wide and deep. This two-setter at the Space at Westbury on Friday featured songs by Hoyt Axton (“Never Been to Spain”), Jackie Moore (“Precious Precious”), Bob Dylan (“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”) and New Riders of the Purple Sage (“Last Lonely Eagle”) tucked between CRB originals and songs from Robinson’s previous associations given new life by this band (“I Ain’t Hiding,” came from the Black Crowes while “Tumbleweed in Eden” and “Train Robbers” drew from the brief, turbulent life of Robinson’s 2002-2004 era band, New Earth Mud). None of those felt out of place, but rather they were bent to the groovy CRB m.o. such that a well-trodden tune like “Baby Blue” had a livelier, hootenanny feel than the regretful folk sound it’s most often associated with. Robinson was as ever the band’s centerpiece. He’s still the charismatic hippie-with-an-edge howler he always was leading the Crowes, and with Leone and Hill keeping things humming—and from veering off course—Casal and MacDougall become its painters, working with a significant range of tones and colors both earthy (Casal’s paint-peeler slide guitar) and spacey (MacDougall’s spattering psych-out effects).

Together, the fivesome offered a few hours of vignettes: the mournful then defiant narrator of “Train Robbers,” which began as spooky country before erupting into vocal howls and volcanic guitar, the vicious rock and roll of “I Ain’t Hiding” (“Ain’t your saint, ain’t your enemy/ I’m a long shadow on the highway”), the big dreams and tortured realities of “Forever as the Moon” and “Star or Stone,” plus the drunk-on-life rambling in “Rosalee,” which began and ended the second set as effectively one long sandwich. And if there’s a newer song from the band’s rapidly growing catalog that takes its place among its best and most complete statements, it’s “Narcissus Soaking Wet,” which on this tour has been a second-set showpiece, getting really cosmic and Dead-y, a lengthy tale of myth. It’s a song to get lost in from a band really good at making them. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Dawes and First Aid Kit Play SummerStage on Monday Night

July 24th, 2015

Since forming in Southern California six years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and four albums—including this year’s All Your Favorite Bands (stream it below), which Rolling Stone called “their best LP” and American Songwriter labeled “an inspired record full of space, swagger and warm, analog glow”—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “Things Happen” on Late Show with David Letterman) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty.

Sisters Johanna Söderberg (vocals and synth) and Klara Söderberg (vocals and guitar) launched their harmonies-laden acoustic-folk band, First Aid Kit, eight years ago in Sweden, earning comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom in the process. Now rounded out by Melvin Duffy (pedal-steel guitar) and Scott Simpson (drums), First Aid Kit (below, performing “Stay Gold” on Conan) put out their third studio album, Stay Gold (stream it below), which the New Yorker calls their “most mature and opulent work to date,” in 2014. They also provided backing vocals on Conor Oberst’s sixth solo album, Upside Down Mountain, last year, while Dawes backed Oberst when he performed the new material live. And now Dawes and First Aid Kit team up as a terrific double bill to play SummerStage in Central Park on Monday night.

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A Terrific Double Bill Tonight at Webster Hall

June 5th, 2014

Jackie Greene began making a name for himself and his bluesy music with the release of his first album, Gone Wanderin (stream it below) in 2002. He’s since released six more LPs, a pair of EPs and even a book of lyrics. But things began to take off for him in a different direction when he joined Phil Lesh & Friends as a guitarist, exposing him to different audiences—and different musicians. He’s since joined Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson and Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, and he became a member of Trigger Hippy, alongside Joan Osborne, Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and others. So when the Black Crowes were looking for a lead guitarist to tour the world with them last year, Greene was an obvious fit. But now that the Crowes are on hiatus, he’s back on the road with the Jackie Greene Band (above, doing “Honey I Been Thinking About You”).

Keeping it in the family, the Jackie Greene Band is touring with Black Crowes founding member (and guitarist) Rich Robinson. Robinson (above, rehearsing “I Know You”) started making his own music as the Crowes began taking hiatuses 10 years ago. And with each release, his vocals have grown increasingly more confident and smooth. Robinson’s third LP, The Ceaseless Sight (stream it below), just came out on Tuesday, and he told Rolling Stone that it “represents a movement forward.” See the Jackie Greene Band and Rich Robinson Band tonight at Webster Hall. (Each band will 90-minute sets with an encore featuring members of both bands.)

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Five Questions with … Jonathan Wilson

February 11th, 2014

Jonathan Wilson is a talented guy. He’s done production work for musicians like Father John Misty, Dawes and Chris Robinson. Plus he’s put out his own excellent albums filled with a unique mix of folk, psychedelic rock and R&B, including last year’s Fanfare (stream it below). Wilson has also performed with big-time names like Robbie Robertson, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Jackson Browne—while he and his band have won over audiences across the globe, touring on their own and alongside Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Jonathan Wilson (above, performing “Trials of Jonathan”) plays The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night with Laraaji and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday with the Blank Tapes. And ahead of those shows, he answered Five Questions for The House List.

Which New York City musician—past or present—would you most like to play with?
Laraaji, and on February 12th we will be doing just that. It’s a dream come true, as I listen to his music almost every day.

Where do you like to hang out in NYC? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
I always like the East Village and the Lower East Side. I like going up to midtown for the nostalgic experience of when I used to visit NYC as a kid. I’ll try to catch a jazz show when I’m there. It’s the last place on earth with any jazz scene. I’d like to live in NYC again some day, sure.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you?
I’m not sure if a song is better if it really happened to the writer. Certain songs are. Like today in the world of rustic Americana banjo totin’, there seems to be a lot of hobo-centric songs about jumping trains to ol’ Virginny and the like. I doubt many young banjo frailers have ever done that, but they still can convince many a listener they have … or maybe it just inspires someone to dream or to ponder a yonder time. Nothing wrong with that. Music many times is fantastical and complete fiction, but everyone loves great fiction, right?

Behind Gentle Spirit, you played the early show at Mercury Lounge a couple of years ago. But following the release of Fanfare, this time you’re playing two shows in much bigger rooms. Is that just a local thing, or have you found you and your music are getting more recognition across the country?
Indeed, we are very excited to play these wonderful rooms. It is quite a jump since the last shows in NYC, but we have been touring pretty much nonstop since then, and the band has gained some great fans and support along the way. We are getting much more recognition across the globe, which is such an amazing feeling. The records are getting bigger, more complex, and the live show is as well. These are good times for us.

What goes into choosing a song to cover, like “Isn’t It a Pity,” “One More Cup of Coffee” or even “La Isla Bonita”? Does it have to do with liking those songs as a kid—or is it just about what moves you now?
In the case of “La Isla,” yes, there is certainly an affinity from childhood. Most of the others are just songs that have spoken to me, that I find a kinship with—songs I want to honor. Songs I want to bring back into someone’s day. —R. Zizmor

 

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The Black Crowes Kick Off Eight Shows Tonight

October 18th, 2013

The Black Crowes first gained fame with their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker, and despite some turnover—especially at the lead-guitar position, now filled out by Jackie Greene—they’re still going strong as a finely tuned touring machine 23 years later. But another hiatus is in the not-too-distant future for frontman Chris Robinson, rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson, drummer Steve Gorman, bassist Sven Pipien, keyboardist Adam MacDougall and Greene. But before they go away, the Black Crowes (above, performing “Sting Me”) are coming back to town for eight shows with special guests galore. The six-piece will play acoustic shows at the Capitol Theatre, tonight and tomorrow with John Fullbright, and Monday and Tuesday with Justin Townes Earle. (Plus legendary bluegrass mandolinist Sam Bush will sit in at three shows, while jack-of-all-trades multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell will guest at all four.) The Crowes will then go electric at Terminal 5, on 10/24 with Ray Wylie Hubbard, on 10/26 with the Blind Boys of Alabama, on 10/27 with Dr. John & the Nite Trippers and on 10/29 with Maceo Parker. Get involved.

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Dawes Play Terminal 5 with Shovels & Rope Tomorrow Night

June 21st, 2013

Since forming in Southern California four years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and three albums—North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong and this year’s Stories Don’t End (stream it below)—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “If I Wanted Someone” at last year’s Lollapalooza) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty. Plus, at the most epic night of music The House List has ever had the privilege to witness, they inspired one of the loudest sing-alongs Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble had seen with their anthemic “When My Time Comes.” But, really, why are we telling you all this? So you don’t miss them with talented indie-folk duo Shovels & Rope tomorrow night at Terminal 5.

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Despite Major Changes, the Black Crowes Are Having Fun

April 8th, 2013

The Black Crowes – Terminal 5 – April 6, 2013


The Black Crowes first gained fame with their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker, but 23 years later, only three original members remain: frontman Chris Robinson, his brother, rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson, and drummer Steve Gorman. Bassist Sven Pipien has been with the band since the late ’90s (minus a few years), and keyboardist Adam MacDougall came onboard in 2007. As for lead guitar, first there was Jeff Cease, and then for a long time there was Marc “Fucking” Ford. His and Rich’s guitar pairing would define the band’s sound. But then Ford was replaced by Audley Freed, who remained until the group’s first hiatus. When the Crowes returned, Ford was again playing lead—until he wasn’t and Paul Stacey was. And then he wasn’t and Luther Dickinson was. Dickinson returned the band to the twang-y Southern-rock sound of Ford’s heyday, and by the time fans finally grew accustomed to this version of the Crowes, you guessed it, they went on hiatus again.

So when word broke that they’d be touring again, with Jackie Greene as lead guitarist, the news was met with trepidation. But over the course of four shows last week—two each at the Capitol Theatre and Terminal 5—the newest edition of the Black Crowes allayed the fears of any doubters. Turns out, Greene is almost a perfect fit, as the band has bloomed sonically from the bluesy Southern rock they’d first become known for into a patchwork Americana sound studded with folk, rock, gospel and soul. It’s as if they’d traded in their Stones’, Faces’and Allmans’ albums for the Band’s, Mad Dogs & Englishmen and the Rolling Thunder Revue.

On Saturday night at Terminal 5, Greene’s mandolin on “She Talks to Angels” and banjo on “Whoa Mule” helped breathe new life into those songs, and his guitar work on “Sister Luck” was particularly fiery. Greene’s presence allowed Rich to play slide and take on more lead duties, like in terrific renditions of “Thorn in My Pride” and “Wiser Time,” with the two epically engaging each other from across the stage while everyone else took a step back. Of course, it’s not just about the new guitarist. The Crowes have reinterpreted some older material, like Chris’s staccato gospel breakdowns in the middle of “Remedy” (and in “My Morning Song” on prior nights). And the other drastic change was the lack of backing singers, two strong female voices replaced by four- and five-part harmonies.

But it wasn’t just about what was heard—because what was seen proved to be just as important, which in this case, was a band having a good time. There were smiles across the stage, and no one seemed to be enjoying himself more than Chris, whether happily introducing the night’s third song, “Feelin’ Alright,” with “Saturday night in the big city, man,” or inspiring some of the night’s biggest applause with harmonica-led jams, his playful dancing and joy were infectious, spreading across the stage and the room. And following a strong show filled with early material, covers and rarely played numbers, like “Title Song,” plus a three-song encore, the Black Crowes lingered onstage hugging one another, smiling widely and taking in the adulation. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com