CHRIS ROBIN­SON BROTH­ER­HOOD: ‘A FUN BAND’

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY DAVE GIL DE RU­BIO COR­RE­SPON­DENT

While Chris Robin­son found enor­mous com­mer­cial suc­cess along­side his younger brother, Rich, in The Black Crowes, per­sonal dy­nam­ics within the band, cou­pled with the ex­pec­ta­tions fu­eled by cor­po­rate mu­sic in­dus­try in­ter­ests, had the Crowes frac­tur­ing and com­ing back to­gether be­fore an­nounc­ing their dis­so­lu­tion in 2015.

For the el­der Robin­son, the Chris Robin­son Broth­er­hood was a mu­si­cal backup plan that he’d been hap­pily toil­ing away with since it formed in 2011.

“I think you have to be sen­si­tive when you’ve had com­mer­cial suc­cess. How I feel in my soul has noth­ing to do with the thanks and grat­i­tude to the gift I’ve been given be­cause of that. But the other part of it is that as you get older, you start ask­ing your­self who you’re work­ing for. I’m still pas­sion­ate about mu­sic and life, and part of mu­sic to me is if there is any spir­i­tual prac­tice to be found in it, it’s [got to be] a place where you’re try­ing to live in the present as much as you can,” he said.

“As t i me goes on, I’m su­per- happy and com­fort­able with the CRB. I’m writ­ing all these songs that don’t sound like what I’m fa­mous for sing­ing. They’re not hard- rock riff- ori­ented songs and it’s not a band with this rigid [ap­proach] where ev­ery­body was want­ing to suck as much money out of it as pos­si­ble, which was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing to some­one like me.”

What started out as a loose string of con­cert dates played on the West Coast in 2011 to test the wa­ters for the group co­a­lesced into the CRB.

“I had this mu­sic, and the songs were pil­ing up. Adam MacDougall and I were on The Black Crowes tour to­gether dur­ing those last few years, in dress­ing rooms and ho­tel rooms with gui­tar and pi­ano putting to­gether a lit­tle reper­toire of songs. We did this know­ing that The Black Crowes were this dys­func­tional weird thing, which was noth­ing new,” Robin­son re­called.

“So it was a prag­matic thing, too. I wanted to get out and do some­thing new and dif­fer­ent. I’m a dif­fer­ent per­son. I wanted my pre­sen­ta­tion to be dif­fer­ent. Luck­ily, we got in with a group of peo­ple and made a sound that we liked. We can ex­ist in our lit­tle utopian mu­sic bub­ble, make this mu­sic and not have to be too con­cerned with pro­mo­tional or cor­po­rate things. We’re not a cor­po­rate band. We’ve all done hun­dreds and hun­dreds of gigs and mil­lions of hours in the stu­dio as a col­lec­tive group. This is a group of peo­ple who love mu­sic, and I think that’s our fuel.”

The CRB is cur­rently out on the road in sup­port of 2017’ s “Bare­foot in the Head.” The tour stops in Walker Theatre tonight, Oct. 18, for an 8 p.m. show.

For Robin­son, the CRB’s fifth full- length stu­dio al­bum was a chance to get a lit­tle root­sier with the ma­te­rial he was pen­ning while on tour.

“I just had my acous­tic gui­tar and these more folk/coun­try tunes, and that was the idea. When we went in to make ‘ Bare­foot in the Head,’ I didn’t want any in­stru­ments that we used be­fore or any­thing that we played on tour,” he said. “We had dif­fer­ent amps and gui­tars, and I wanted us to play a lot of acous­tic in­stru­ments. But I’m very lucky be­cause Tony [Leone] is a good man­dolin player. Neal [ Casal] plays a myr­iad of acous­tic in­stru­ments and Jeff [Hill] as well. We were able to have a lot of tex­ture and color that way.”

The in­spi­ra­tion for all of this was enough that CRB has an­other al­bum in the can set to drop in 2019. But for now, play­ing live is the band’s main con­cern and one that con­cert­go­ers will get to en­joy on a high level if the group’s name­sake has any­thing to say about it.

“What I’m most proud of is that [see­ing us play live is] a very pos­i­tive and wel­com­ing [ex­pe­ri­ence]. CRB is a fun band,” Robin­son said.

JAY BLAKESBERG PHOTO

Chris Robin­son Broth­er­hood

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