Through A Crooked Sun is the new solo album from Rich Robinson, the guitar player and founding member of blues-rock band The Black Crowes. The album carries the weight of not only an experienced musician, but also of an experienced man. Having gone through a few band hiatuses (some planned, some spontaneous) and a divorce, Robinson has come through to the other side. He has remarried and welcomed a son and also used the breaks from The Black Crowes to establish his individual artistry. In addition to his solo music work, Robinson has embarked on a career as a visual artist. It is plain to see that Robinson is at home in the studio, as Through A Crooked Sun has a rich and deep texture, complete with strong songwriting and layers of technique.
Each track on this album has something unique to offer. Robinson leans more toward rock with blues undertones, which lends it a versatile and appealing sound to fans of all genres. The guitar work and vocals are fantastic, but what really must be commended is the songwriting. Although “Hey Fear” is the lead single of the album, each track is worth listening to more than once. “Gone Away,” the first track, has a swingy, syncopated rhythm that manages to capture the spirit of blues while still being gritty, real and catchy, a feeling that is echoed many times throughout the album. The real strength is that even though much of the same techniques are employed in Through A Crooked Sun, they never become tiresome and Robison tweaks the style on each song enough to make something new out of it. Even the slower tracks like “Bye Bye Baby,” have a haunting and emotional guitar solo that creates warmth and depth.
Robinson’s individual skill as a musician is also noteworthy. His guitar playing is technically sound, and stands out well on solos. But, what is most impressive is his ability to take a simple melody on guitar and have it stand for instrumentals. There is no need for flashy runs or solos when the guitarist has Robinson’s gift. His vocals are equally pleasant. His singing is smooth and a nice addition to the layering of percussion and guitar.
It is not an exaggeration to call this a great album. Robinson has created something that is strong on so many levels; it is definitely worth a listen. His strength as a musician and songwriter are clear in this work. Through A Crooked Sun bears the mark of a man who has been through the ringer a few times and built himself back up. An overall enjoyable and impressive effort on Robinson’s part.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Gone Away
– Hey Fear
– Fire Around
The Big Hit
– Hey Fear
Review by Sarah Richmond