Essential New Music: Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s “Barefoot In The Head”

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood doesn’t get enough respect. Vocalist/bandleader Robinson is still distancing himself from the legacy of his old group, the Black Crowes, and far too few people have heard the many splendid recordings by his more current band of brothers. These guys are total road warriors who’ve nurtured their expansive live sound to include several aspects of cosmic American music that echo the spirit and intent of tribal pioneers like the Grateful Dead.

Deep and communal, Barefoot In The Head is the CRB’s most impressive studio effort yet. Ace guitarist Neal Casal (Ryan Adams And The Cardinals) is sharper than ever and brings out the best in Robinson, while Adam MacDougall’s vintage keyboard arsenal keeps things from sounding too clichéd. Psychedelic flourishes abound as the band’s rocking roots and fluid flashbacks interweave organically. The songs are there, the performances are spirited, Robinson’s voice is in fine form, and the good times just keep rolling along.

Mitch Myers