‘Through A Crooked Sun’ is the second solo album from Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson. However, it is the first where the songs have been written for his own voice, his debut solo album ‘Paper’ featured songs that had originally been written for the Black Crowes and for his short-lived band Hookah Brown.
If you’re hoping for an album that sounds like the Black Crowes, then opening track ‘Gone Away’ is probably the closest that it gets. But Rich Robinson has written a solo album in the truest sense, a hugely personal set of songs, and an album that gets better with each listen. As well as being the singer and guitarist on the album, he also played bass. He was joined by Joe Magistro on drums, who played percussion on the last Crowes tour and Steve Molitz on keyboards.
The album’s highlight is ‘I Don’t Hear The Sound Of You’, country pop, great vocal harmonies with similarities to the Jayhawks, before ending with a jazzy instrumental section. The most pleasant surprise on this album is Robinson’s strength as lyricist and vocalist, as we all know him as the guitarist in the Black Crowes.
A lot has been made of Robinson’s troubles leading up to this album including a divorce and the illness of his father, which provides the subject matter for ‘Follow You Forever’. But despite this, it’s an optimistic sounding album, with Robinson looking forward and being content with where he is at, this really comes across in the memorable ‘Hey Fear’. ‘Bye Bye Baby’ has a great contribution from the Allman’s Warren Haynes on slide guitar and Larry Campbell on pedal steel.
No one really knows how long this latest Black Crowes hiatus will last, but if Rich Robinson can continue to produce quality material like this, then perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.
Rating 8 out of 10