Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Servants of the Sun Review

Servants of the Sun is the “Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s new studio album that was just released on June 14. It features the usual suspects comprised of the amazing talent of lead guitarist Neal Casal and keyboardist Adam MacDougal, along with the driving rhythm of bassist Jeff Hill and drummer Tony Leone carrying the beat. It’s CRB’s 6th full length studio album over the past 8 years. After CRB concluded an extensive tour of the U.S. and Europe it met in a Stinson Beach, CA studio to record themselves at their performing peak. There are 10 cuts on the album, which were all written by Chris Robinson, except for 3 that were co-written with Neal Casal.

Servants of the Sun opens with “Some Earthly Delights” with Casal’s “sky climbing” clean crisp guitar licks lighting up the way for Robinson’s “rock and roll guru” persona to begin singing, “Flushes playing in the cocktails, yarrows growing green.” The overall sound of the album conjures up aural visions of a perfect “Grateful Dead” performance. “Let It Fall” is a perfect example of that funky rhythm with Hill’s thumping bass teamed up with Leone’s driving drums. “Rare Birds” is a humorous mix about a love affair using interplay with MacDougal’s calliope sounding keyboards and Casal’s quivering guitar licks interspersed with CR singing “One thing I know for certain is you got to be free.” “Venus In Chrome” opens with and is continually punctuated by MacDougal’s keyboards with CR’s pagan lyrics. Casal’s soaring guitar and MacDougal’s ethereal organ combine with Hill and Leone’s loping beat as they weave a story together with Robinson singing, “From Boston to Barcelona, to Bakersfield and back,” on “The Stars Fell on California.”

Casal’s screaming guitar dominates “Comin’ Round the Mountain,” with the band singing the refrain in chorus together, “comin’ round the mountain where do we go”. “The Chauffeur’s Daughter” is another love song that drives the band into a frenzy as they emulate CR’s lyrics with their instruments, “With her long blonde hair falling in my face.” “Dice Game” is a mellow countryish tune that floats along in a beautiful reflection “passing time with such matters on a six-hour drive to LA.” “Madder Rose Interlude” is just that, a 43 second experiment reminiscent of Frank Zappa’s “Mother’s of Invention.” The final cut on the album is “A Smiling Epitaph,” which has Robinson crooning as the band harmonizes and blend their instruments with Casal leading the charge as MacDougal peppers it with keyboards, until the band explodes in finale.

After reviewing “The Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s” show six months ago this writer’s mind was conjuring up visions of Robinson strutting center stage with his Stratocaster as he interacted with the rest of the band. Servants of the Sun is a funky excursion with sonic exploration that results in a potpourri of sound through the manipulation of language and musical texture. The album is a fast moving mix of free flowing themes and storylines that effortlessly paint psychedelic images on the windows of the mind.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Venus in Chrome
– The Stars Fell on California
– Comin’ Round the Mountain
– The Chauffeur’s Daughter
– A Smiling Epitaph

The Big Hit

– The Stars Fell on California

Review by Bob Gersztyn

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Bob Gersztyn

Bob Gersztyn began attending concerts and musical performances as a teenager in Detroit, Michigan, when Motown was beginning and the by the end of the 1960’s he was attending multiple shows every week of everyone from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels to the Four Tops, along with Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, and hundreds of other artists. In 1971 Bob’s musical direction changed and he became involved in promoting gospel rock music, also known as Jesus rock and witnessed and photographed hundreds of performances by everyone from Andrae` Crouch and the Disciples to Larry Norman. In the 1990’s Bob began to cover concerts for music magazines like “Duprees Diamond News,” “Guitar Player” and LIVE. By the 21st century Bob was writing, interviewing and photographing everyone from performers and producers to other photographers and painters. He has published 2 books and lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife of 46 years and teaches photography at the local community college part time. He has 7 children and 6 grandchildren.

One thought on “Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Servants of the Sun Review

  • June 28, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Just more Hippie Dippy garbage. What a terrible BIG HIT!


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