CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD KEEPS 60s COUNTERCULTURE IN ITS SIGHTS

CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD KEEPS 60s COUNTERCULTURE IN ITS SIGHTS

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You might hear Chris Robinson sing about the
cryptic ramblings of a Tarot character or a “sweet
sister” who “rolls her own.”
But you probably won’t witness Robinson, who rose
to fame fronting the Black Crowes, spewing political
commentary. At least not on stage.
“I keep being positive, I keep thinking there’s a
sour-faced, hate-filled, old, white man running this
country and something will change,” says the Chris
Robinson Brotherhood bandleader. “But until that
fair day, I think about putting out the reverberations
of positivity and of love and of strength and of
compassion, and if you can do that in a little country
rock song and keep a smile on your face and keep
someone dancing, that’s the best.”
Robinson, speaking to The Post from a tour stop
in St. Louis, will bring the CRB to Brooklyn Steel on
Sunday, Nov. 4. It will be the group’s first show at the
Williamsburg venue.
The Georgia native started the CRB in 2011 while
the Black Crowes were in the midst of a reunion
that fell apart in 2015. The prolific CRB, which has
released five studio albums and has completed a
sixth, “Servants of the Sun,” is his main gig now. With
a looser, more psychedelic sound than the Southernflavored
guitar rock of the Crowes, the CRB takes cues
from the ’60s San Francisco scene that spawned the
Grateful Dead and like-minded musical and social
experimentalists.
The CRB’s latest live album, “Betty’s Midwestern
Blends,” out Nov. 16 on Robinson’s own Silver Arrow
records, is the fourth in a series curated by Betty
Cantor-Jackson, herself a part of Deadhead lore for
her coveted concert recordings known as “Betty
boards.”
Robinson, who jokes that Cantor-Jackson is “like
having your amazing LSD mom on the tour bus,” met
her a few years ago at hippie hero Wavy Gravy’s
birthday party. The new “Betty’s Blends,” recorded
in October 2016 at shows in Chicago, Milwaukee and
Madison, Wisconsin, features sprawling CRB tunes like
“Narcissus Soaking Wet” alongside a spirited cover
of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” and a funky
overhaul of the Bob Dylan classic “It’s All Over Now
Baby Blue.”
Robinson said he’ll bring Cantor-Jackson to shows
in the Pacific Northwest to capture what will be Vol. 5.
2018 is the fourth straight year the CRB — Robinson
(vocals and guitar), Neal Casal (guitar), Tony Leone
(drums), Adam MacDougall (keyboards) and Jeff Hill
(bass) — will play more than 200 shows.
Robinson’s estranged brother and fellow Black
Crowes founder, Rich Robinson, in 2016 launched
The Magpie Salute, a band that features some fellow
former Crowes. Chris, for his part, played Crowes
songs with a new band, As The Crow Flies, this year.
The siblings no longer speak, with Rich recently
saying in a radio interview, “I don’t have a brother
anymore.”
While Robinson is an unabashed Deadhead, he’s
not a fan of Dead and Company, the stadium-filling
outfit featuring core Dead members Bob Weir, Bill
Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart as well as pop superstar
John Mayer.
“No, no, I don’t go to, like, corporate shows,” he says.
“Everyone says it’s great, everyone has fun, that’s all
that matters.”

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