Appearing for four nights at Levon’ Helm’s Barn in Woodstock, New York this past winter, the Black Crowes played sets of mostly brand-new original material which forms the basis for two distinct new albums that nevertheless display an unmistakable continuity.
The main album of the pair, Before The Frost is available digitally and as a physical cd at conventional retail outlets and on-line. Chris Robinson’s singing, the stinging guitars of Luther Dickinson and Rich Robinson plus the swaggering motion of the Sven Pipien/Steve Gorman rhythm section during “Good Morning Captain” sets the tone for a celebratory atmosphere that continues within “Make Glad” as well as the raucous “And The Band Played On.” “Been a Along Time” features keyboardist Adam Macdougall winding it out on the Hammond organ, while the mammoth crunch that is “A Train Still Makes a Lonely sound” creates a sharp contrast to the the lazy bittersweet ramble of “Appaloosa.”
With the purchase of its counterpart, and at no additional cost to the consumer, Until the Freeze is available strictly as a digital download(albeit in both mp3 and FLAC files) , the access to which is supplied on a coded card enclosed in the digipak. The download is utterly simple and includes a detailed cd booklet with color artwork and lyrics in the form of an Adobe PDF to assemble for insertion into a jewel box.
The album itself is a quietly rootsy affair, locked to its companion piece via the gorgeous melancholy of “The Last Place That Love Lives,” brimming with exotic textures such as those of fiddle, sitar and harmonica on “Aimless Peacock.”Acoustic guitars, mandolin, banjo and pedal steel otherwise dominate dominate here as the Black Crowes create an intimate sense of musicianly camaraderie as vivid as the generally loud high spirits on Before the Frost.