It’s a quiet evening here at home this evening while Kelly is off at the doctor’s, so I’m enjoying a few chapters of my new book ‘Born to Run‘ and a pint of Oast Brewery’s toasted Walnut bourbon Porter. And kick ass beer needs a kick ass soundtrack, like the Chris Robinson Brotherhood album ‘Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel”.
I told you I’d have to hunt it out (click HERE) and sure enough I did.
This is the 4th album (released in 2016) the CRB, and is so light it floats away on its own haze.
Apart from the knowing ‘Leave My Guitar Alone‘, the rhythms aren’t blues-boogie, they’re nimble funk-rock colored by a psychedelic sensibility that isn’t about chops but rather endless expansion.
It’s jam music where the playing isn’t the point: it’s the vibe and, sometimes, the song. Robinson certainly luxuriates in his winding words, lyrics that conjure fleeting indelible moments, but what impresses is the structure – he doesn’t write hooks, he writes melodies, where the verses slide into the chorus then glide into a bridge – and how the band underpins these tunes with interplay that feels loose yet tight: the performances often stretch for longer than six minutes but the CRB aren’t aimless, they’re simply riding their groove. Such accents as early-’70s analog synths and a couple of pastoral acoustic numbers may give ‘Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel‘ a throwback feel but the CRB aren’t living in the past, they’re pushing jam band tradition forward by keeping their expansion focused on funk.
In fact, the band borderlines somewhere between later-day Grateful Dead and P-Funk. It’s good-time music on an end-times mission: When the pedal-steel-gilded ‘California Hymn‘ declares, “Let your cup overspill again – glory hallelujah!” it seems churlish not to answer back, “Amen.”
Oh hell, I’ll say it: every track kicks ass. ‘Give Us Back Our Eleven Days‘, ‘Some Gardens Green‘, ‘Oak Apple Day‘, and even Chris’ Dylan impersonation on ‘Forever As the Moon‘ (or is it Zappa, I’m not sure).
It’s all good; trippy funky awesome good.