Chris Robinson Brotherhood
"The best perspective I have on what's going on in my life--good and bad--is what comes out in the songs," says Chris Robinson. "As you move on in time, you get older, you have relationships. Some of them are good, some fail. Friends. Drugs. Life. Death. People come, people go. Songwriting is a completely different emotional response to your life and to what it means to in some poetic nature, put it out there."
Chris Robinson Brotherhood are back with their third album, the upcoming PHOSPHORESCENT HARVEST out April 29 via Silver Arrow Records. The album is a treasure trove of 10 new songs--including several the band road-tested over the last few years--that advances the band's kaleidoscopic sound that's deeply soulful, rootsy and spacey all at once. There's strong songcraft here, with a free-flowing delivery; it is music that is in no hurry to reach its destination but firmly knows where it is going. From the beginning, the CRB set out to do something different from what they had done before, creating their own scene with a musical prowess, cohesive songwriting and a unified commitment to experimentation.
The new album builds on the California group's impressive growing repertoire, which was introduced to fans with two companion albums, Big Moon Ritual (June 2012) and The Magic Door (September 2012). The band toured relentlessly from the beginning, including a 118-show journey that found the band--Robinson (lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums) and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals)--stepping comfortably into their collective groove. They celebrated a five-night run at San Francisco's American Music Hall with the eight-sided limited-edition live vinyl release, Betty's S.F. Blends, Volume 1 (November 2013). In a Relix piece on the album and Betty Cantor-Jackson, who recorded the album, the magazine said it's "full of laid-back guitar leads, shape-shifting, space-constructing keyboard weirdness and guitar rhythms, shuffling drums and steady loping basslines. It's hot shit rock and roll with gruff vocal harmonies and the gospelic gift of Robinson's singing voice--songs full of outlaws and outcasts and cosmic and religious imagery that hint at discontent and change. And it was recorded through the ideal set of ears (January 2014)."
Produced again by Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart, Papercuts) PHOSPHORESCENT HARVEST is a celebration of musical adventure, as well as Robinson and Casal's growing musical relationship. "Songwriting in the CRB has also progressed," says Robinson. "And to me one of the most progressive parts of the whole thing is my relationship with Neal Casal and our songwriting partnership. The first songs I brought to the group were ones that I'd been working on by myself, and then Neal helped. But now our partnership is more 50/50."