Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Big Moon Ritual
I know I have the reputation around these parts as they guy who hunts down the sickest, darkest, most extreme metal and then raves about how great it is, but I don’t always listen to metal. And this release makes me ever so glad that I dive into other things. Quite simply, this is my favorite album of 2012, at least at this point of the year.
I cannot stop listening to this album. I have listened to it at least once a day since I bought it a few weeks ago. And this is a big deal for me, because I cannot remember the last album I spent this much time with. It’s been a while, like maybe the summer when I was just a wee lad and was absolutely enthralled by Deep Purple’s “Made In Japan”. Yeah, that long.
Chris Robinson’s solo stuff has never really taken hold with me. I’ve usually been much more partial to the stuff that Rich Robinson has put out. I do have to say that on the last couple of Black Crowe’s releases, I’ve been really under the spell of Chris Robinson’s lyrics and singing, and it seems that over the last 20 or so years his lyrical skills and his voice have really come of age. That is abundantly clear on this release with his newest band, or side project, or whatever you wanna call it.
If I had to compare this to anything that I am familiar with, I’d say it reminds me a lot of Gram Parsons. But for me “Big Moon Ritual” goes much further than that. There is a lot of soul in this music, and not what you automatically think of as soul music, although there are tinges of that to be sure. This just feels like music that has been lived in, music that comes not from someone sitting down to purposefully write a song, but rather a song that just organically comes into being. It is music that makes you feel intimately involved in it. Some of this may be that the band has actually been out touring and playing this music live for a while now before going into the studio to actually put it down. They purposely kept the live arrangements for these songs, so they are lengthy, they go off in jams and off into very interesting tangents. But it all feels right, not tacked on so the guitar player or keyboard player can show off. It is quite simply amazing music.
I try to talk about my favorite tracks from each album. In the case of this one, put me down for all seven. Each one is unique, each one takes you to a different place, makes you feel something different, and most of all makes you glad that you got to experience the music. “Rosalee”, the second track, is probably my favorite. It starts out a little funky and travels into some interesting spots. I’m not sure of the inspiration behind “Beware, Oh Take Care”, and it doesn’t really matter, but it feels like something I’ve lived through, and I feel it very vividly.
This is just an amazing release full of quality song writing, great performances, and music that deserves and needs to be heard. So get to it.