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Barefoot In The Head'
Barefoot in the HeadThey say the only people who know true freedom are musicians and gangsters, Chris Robinson says with a laugh. And Bob Dylan said to live outside the law you must be honest. We're living in these anxiety-filled times, in an era of 'no truth,' but what our music represents is this truly honest way of communicating with people, and that's a really freeing thing.
If their stellar new album, 'Barefoot In The Head,' is any indication, freedom suits the Chris Robinson Brotherhood well. The band is in the midst of one of their most prolific periods to date, with a slew of studio and live records coming out amidst a rigorous tour schedule that only seems to fuel their fire even further. 'Barefoot In The Head' finds the band pushing boundaries and breaking new ground with more joy and wonder than ever before. The album showcases the continued growth of Robinson's songwriting partnership with his bandmates (guitarist Neal Casal, drummer Tony Leone, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, and bassist Jeff Hill), while reveling in the kind of playful adventurousness that can only come from five artists tuned in to the same sonic wavelength.
The album opens with the Americana funk of Behold The Seer, which sounds like something of a mission statement for the CRB as Robinson sings, If you want to keep your engine humming / Keep your eyes wide ahead and don't look back. On the dreamy She Shares My Blanket, Robinson crafts cinematic scenes from a winter love affair in the mountains, while elegant pedal steel added by special guest Barry Sless on Blonde Light Of Day casts a warm, romantic haze and Blue Star Woman sounds like T-Rex dressed in overalls living on a West Coast commune. Throughout the album, Robinson and the band deftly intertwine country, blues and psychedelia, even channeling freewheeling 60s' folk on Hark The Herald Hermit Speaks, a breakneck stream of consciousness that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. On the English psych inspired Glow, which Robinson calls one of the most special things I've ever done in the studio, The CRB are joined by the celebrated sarodist Alam Khan (son of the legendary Ali Akbar Khan).
After six years of solid touring with this band, we can still roll into Fayetteville, AR on a Tuesday night and have the most fun of any musical thing I've ever been a part of, says Robinson. We don't have the weight of responsibility or nostalgia, which means we're in the very psychedelic situation of getting to be totally honest and create everything in the moment. That's freedom.1. Behold the Seer
2. She Shares My Blanket
3. Hark, the Herald Hermit Speaks
4. Blonde Light of Morning
5. Dog Eat Sun
6. Blue Star Woman
7. High Is Not the Top
8. If You Had a Heart To Break
10. Good To Know$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
MojoSome time in the last few years Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took a left turn. Maybe it was when Petty woke up in the night with the idea of reuniting his first band, Mudcrutch, to cut the album they never got a chance to make back in the early 70s. Maybe it was when the Heartbreakers assembled the mammoth multi-disc The Live Anthology, which detailed thirty years of concerts. Maybe it was when they gave all their home movies, outtakes and live footage to director Peter Bogdanovich to create the Grammy-winning four-hour career documentary Runnin' Down A Dream. There have been side projects and experiments since the band last went into the studio to cut a new Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album. With Mojo, they have taken their recent freedom and experimentation to heart. They have gone off the reservation and all signs indicate they aren't coming back.
The first thing that hits you about Mojo is that the spirit of the Mudcrutch sessions has carried on with the Heartbreakers. This is the sound of a band playing together in a room, not a studio, facing each other, all singing and playing at the same time. The music is alive, with no overdubs or studio trickery. What you hear is what they created on the spot at that time.
Tom Petty says, With this album, I want to show other people what I hear with the band. Mojo is where the band lives when it's playing for itself.
As for the songs, Mojo showcases a wide variety of American music from rock n' roll to country and both electric and acoustic blues. And then there are the images in Petty's lyrics which slip in on the melodies and set up a home in your head: The barefoot girl in the high grass chewing on a stick of sugar cane, the run-in with the law that begins when a carload of buddies decide to party with the motel maids, and the hilariously audacious idea of opening an album with an electric blues rocker about Thomas Jefferson's love affair with Sally Hemings.
Mojo has juice and guts but it also has some sweet balladry for the slow dancers and even a wacked-out reggae number that is unlike anything that the Heartbreakers have done before. It's the kind of album nobody's supposed to be able to make anymore. It got here just in time.1. The Trip To Pirate's Cove
3. No Reason To Cry
4. I Should Have Known It
5. U.S. 41
6. Takin' My Time
7. Let Yourself Go
8. Don't Pull Me Over
9. Lover's Touch
10. High In The Morning
11. Something Good Coming
12. Good Enough$32.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now