Presented by First Avenue and City Pages
On April 29, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood returned from gathering the ineffable with Phosphorescent Harvest, their third long playing album for Silver Arrow Records. Having first unshackled the air with Big Moon Ritual (June 1012) and the Magic Door (September 2012), the band – Robinson (Lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam Macdougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums), and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals) – trucked the realms relentlessly, including a 118-show stretch that never failed to illuminate blank nights to just this side of clarity.
Late 2013 saw the fruits of that labor forever captured in the proverbial amber by legendary tape priestess, Betty Cantor-Jackson (Grateful Dead), on the eight-sided limited-edition vinyl release Betty’s S.F. Blends Volume 1, which documented a glorious five night run at San Francisco’s famed Great American Music Hall. Momentarily content with dusting the globe and turning the sun out at its scattered dances, the Brotherhood reconvened with producer Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart, Papercuts) to materialize a new set of sounds unseen to lean on ceilings, a music of the spheres not content to just envelop rafters.
The writing partnership and dialogue between Robinson and Casal has never been as closely woven as it is on Phosphorescent Harvest, almost akin to the conversation you hear murmuring out of the mouths of the moon and the stars as they glide the celestial track. This isn’t a range they ride alone though, and as strong as the songwriting gets does too the rest of the band’s willingness to seek company in chaos’ warm embrace, discovering that in familiar forms there can glow a vastness.
Phosphorescent Harvest features ten new songs that build on the California group’s impressively growing repertoire by combining the direct and immediate songwriting Robinson has long been known for with an expansive sense of space and texture that has never been so fully realized until now. In an age when so many put their beliefs in trends, the volumes have all collapsed and rooms are filled with tiny rock and dampened lamps, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood rolls on to sharpen the blur at your brow and wind like smoke through your mind.
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First Avenue’s Box Office (Mon-Fri 11am-7pm) at 612-338-8388.