‘Betty’s Blends, Vol. 2: Best From the West’
Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Silver Arrow)
3.5 stars out of 5
Chris Robinson burst onto the scene a quarter century ago as frontman of Southern rock outfit The Black Crowes. The Crowes went on to record some killer albums over the years — 1990’s “Shake Your Money Maker,” 1992’s “The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion,” 1994’s “Amorica”, 1999’ “By Your Side” — and even delivered a solid reunion album in 2013’s “Wiser for the Time” before calling it quits (presumably for good this time) earlier this year.
During one of his band’s frequent breaks, Robinson formed jam band the Chris Robinson Brotherhood in 2011 and the group’s latest project is “Betty’s Blends, Vol. 2: Best From the West.” The seven-track, 67-minute slab was recorded during the Brotherhood’s 2014 summer tour.
“This edition has a second set kind of vibe,” notes producer Betty Cantor-Jackson. “There are some tunes with experimental spaces and some with a very different feel from slamming rock to majestic and soulful ballads. The CRB are inventive, expressive and poetic. They hit so many notes that bring such delight. This is the joy I want to preserve. It’s the here and now of the moment.”
The sprawling one-two opening punch of “Vibration & Light Siote” and “Rosalee” gets things off to a strong start, clocking it at a combined 26-plus minutes. The CRB also score with “Tumbleweed in Eden,” “Burn Slow” and “Driving Wheel.” I’ll always be partial to the music Robinson made in The Black Crowes, but this is a record that merits some attention. (Jeffrey Sisk)