It sounds too pompous and way too much of a cliche to state one particular Americana ensemble has taken up where The Band left off--on the other hand--if anyone deserve's to be in that category, The Black Crowes certainly do. Critics in the past loved to slap miselading labels on them.
But musician's know better in general... and Levon Helm in particular took it to a new level. Out of the remaining members of The Band, Levon with his folksy Midnight Rambles in upstate New York, brings bands and locals together. One notable outing (since his home is also a major studio) involved The Black Crowes recording their best disc yet--Before the Frost...Until the Freeze over a period of five winter nights. By tuning in this week you an forgo the $150 tix price--homegrown can be expensive nowadays. On the other hand, I don't see anyone else offering this kind of unique musical offering in our Grammy littered landscapes of all too questionable talent. Levon Helm is a bona fide musical legend--and--a never ending lover of bringing music to the people.
Chris Robinson’s vision of a two disc set of new material performed in a cozy setting saw its realization in this environment. The Crowes define a new level of musical interaction without ever sounding cluttered. As they are fond of saying, “the music sounds just like it feels.” Risky? Yes. Brilliant? You betcha as that governor has exclaimed in another snowy climes. I can’t even imagine a cozier winter setting than what Levon has provided in his wooden chalet. Closer peeks may be had as this concert became a well produced DVD, too.
This is old school to the core... state of the art old school... like no one does anymore. Not only great originals that defy labeling, but if you are of a certain age, you’ll treasure what they do with that Velvet Underground classic Oh Sweet Nuthin'’.
Other birds of a feather also nesting in Castle Croude this week... those surprise flights of fance - a secret until late Saturday at the midnight hour on WCVE Public Radio. The Electric Croude - on the air since 1985.
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