Black Crowe Robinson lands on 'Mountain Stage'
WANT TO GO?
With Rich Robinson, Cowboy Junkies, Anais Mitchell and Paul Kelly
WHERE: Culture Center
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Advance tickets sold out. Any available tickets will be at the Culture Center at 5 p.m. Sunday for $25.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson hasn't heard anything from his brother Chris or any of the other guys in the band since the release of his latest solo album, "Through A Crooked Sun."
"No, nothing," Robinson said, sounding not at all perturbed. "I don't think I will. We're on a break and all just doing our own thing."
On break and on his own, Robinson will play "Mountain Stage" Sunday night, performing his own material, which doesn't sound completely dissimilar to the music he's made with the Crowes.
The Black Crowes have a bluesy rock sound inspired by bands like The Rolling Stones and Humble Pie. "Through A Crooked Sun" sounds an awful lot like a Black Crowes album, but without Chris' swaggering vocals.
Robinson's solo album is perhaps more plainspoken than a Black Crowes record, but it also seems more personal.
"Well, the Black Crowes, it's its own kind of thing," Robinson said. "It's a little more restrictive in a sense. Going out on my own, doing my own thing lets me touch the ground on things I normally don't do."
Mostly, he said, that's lyrics. Robinson has typically been the driving force musically behind the Black Crowes, while his brother wrote the lyrics and sang lead vocals.
"Doing the album represents a whole other side of creativity I don't really get a chance to deal with much," he said.
Robinson called "Through A Crooked Sun" a cathartic experience.
"I know journalists focus on the negative," he said. "It's a big selling point. But it's really about the positive. That's my take on it. I did go through some things. I did go through a divorce. There were tumultuous times."
Robinson split from his wife, former model Emma Snowball, in 2005, but he came out on the other side and remarried. He said he's in a better place than he used to be.
Some of the ideas for the songs on the album came from dealing with the negative, but a lot of it is about learning from his mistakes, growing.
"I think you can write when you're going through a tough time, and you can write when things are good," he said. "Both, I think, have their place.
"Sadness and struggle can be a kind of springboard for creativity, but you get that through struggle," he said. "Positivity is an amazing force. It can spark a creative period in one's life and it can be unfettered."
Lately, life is pretty good. Robinson just got back from a tour in Europe and is looking forward to taking the record out on the road in United States.
"I love the band," he said. "We're really kind of gelling. It's really great."
As far as the Black Crowes, he's not thinking a lot about them right now.
"We're on a break," he repeated.
Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5195.