Chris Robinson Brotherhood
BIG MOON RITUAL
Man, oh man. Sometimes I hear music that really, really makes me question my decision of 1986 to just quit smoking pot. I've never lied to anyone about it. I loved smoking pot - everything about it. I loved the buzz. I loved the warm, bubbly feeling as you let it find its way through your lungs while you held it in before that euphoric release that was, generally, followed by a soft giggle of the purest enjoyment. I loved the relaxing serenity it can put your mind into, specifically if you had just the right music playing while you enjoyed passing a joint around a campfire or mixing in pipe hits when you grew tired of drinking beer by the six pack. Yes, I do miss smoking pot, but thankfully I am one of those rare breed that still enjoys the best pot smoking music while being completely herb free!
To say the very least, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood would have played very well in my pot smoking days, and it'll play very well in my headphones today. The new band from Black Crowes mainman Chris Robinson, the Brotherhood have unleashed an album that just oozes the more mellowed out party vibe a collection of 40 or 50 something might enjoy around a bonfire while toasting hot dogs, marshmellows or brain cells. BIG MOON RITUAL is definitely not for everyone, and specifically it's not for every Black Crowes fan. It's far more mellow and jam-filled than any Black Crowes album. Each track is much more an outpouring of emotion than anything resembling a radio hit; regardless of how far away from tradition the Black Crowes took the concept of hits. Songs like "Rosalee" drift in and out of psychedelia while mixing in a strong dose of 70s era blues rock (heavy on the Moog in spots) into the jam. There are seven songs here, and the shortest of the bunch clocks in at just over 7 minutes long, so you can quickly figure you are in for more of a jam than a collection of hard rock musical slices.
You just have to be impressed with Chris Robinson. Since day one, he's done things his way and has etched out a career being different in a time where every band conforms and most of them fail as a result. BIG MOON RITUAL again fails to conform to anything, including Robinson's own past, and yet it's destined to become a fan favorite. How could it not? Robinson sounds as good as ever while he works through somber tales like "Star Or Stone" with his classic vocal timbre and a band that could have been brought back in time from 1975.
PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - Again, this one is not for everyone. BIG MOON RITUAL is the perfect rock record for those of you that are hitting middle age, but like to use a little ganja around your fire pit you paid for by conforming to the man a decade or two ago. Be thankful Chris Robinson never conformed. Great stuff here!