Barefoot In The Head is the band’s third studio release in just two short years. What they have created is a psychedelic country record which has the typical atmosphere of a saloon bar. Banjos and blues-style twangs decorate the fabric of this record matched with the soothing tones of former Black Crowes member Chris Robinson. This is exactly the feel-good music we’ve come to expect from CRB. Their previous Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel contained similar points of view and executed with soul.
From the very first track “Behold The Steer” we are asked to put on our dancing shoes and the scene is set. The band are woven together finer than a flannel shirt. Guitarist Neal Casal, drummer Tony Leone, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, and bassist Jeff Hill all add their individual contributions. It feels like the spotlight isn’t shining so much on the main man. Funky guitar and harmonica- everything you can expect from this style of music.
“She’s my rainy day lover, I’m a cold December man” Chris Robinson soulfully coos. Most of his lyrics have the potential to become classic country quotes, but they somehow sound familiar at the same time. The album was composed on the side of a Northern Californian mountain, and CBR takes us their with his words.
The band pulled in Alam Khan (son of Ali Akbar Khan) to guest on the acoustic, psychedelic “Glow”. A folk-inspired love song that showcases the beauty of Chris Robinson’s vocals and ability. In “Hark, The Herald Hermit Speaks” Chris is blurred by the tinkering of piano and the thuds of steel guitar. Robinson has described the track as a “dissociated music poem about day dreams and strange people”. Though his Dylan-style lyrics could have been better framed musically.
This is an easy-listening record and would suit well papered on the background of a lazy BBQ. But there is nothing thrilling or exciting here. Barefoot In The Head is a great CRB record but has little risk.
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