As socially dysfunctional and musically inconsistent as they were, rock history will cast a sympathetic eye on the Black Crows. Their thirteen years of watermelon-and-grits boogie almost single-handedly returned roots rock to the mainstream with classics like “She Talks to Angels.” At least half of the credit should go to Rich Robinson, the axe-wielding half of the Robinson brothers who, along with Chris’s vocals, defined the Crows’ raunchy sound.
His first solo record since the demise of his first post-Crows band, Hookah Brown, finds Robinson singing lead for the first time in his career (a feat that was not accomplished without a few vocal lessons). Though tasteful gospel harmonies and string arrangements smooth out the rough edges, Robinson’s pipes rarely rise to the challenge, especially on syrupy ballads like “Forgiven Song.” Still, Robinson’s six-string skills have certainly not deserted him. “Places” and “Veil” are full-bodied riff rockers perfectly suited to the record’s off-hand, analog feel, and should draw the attention of Crows fans and guitar fanatics alike.