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Chris Robinson Brotherhood keeps striding forward
There was some thought the Chris Robinson Brotherhood would hit the studio this year to make its fourth studio album, a follow-up to 2014's "Phosphorescent Harvest."
But the improvisation-loving quintet decided it was having too good a time on the road, breaking in new drummer Tony Leone and building audiences around the country, so it's still on the road -- hence a second visit in short order to Pontiac's Crofoot Ballroom just seven and a half months after its previous stop there.
"(Touring) is fertile ground for us, musically," the Black Crowes frontman, who founded the CRB in 2011 with guitarist and co-writer Neal Casal, says by phone from his home in Marin County north of San Francisco. "And secondly it's really the only tool we have for people to see this band. Then they tell other people, then they check it out.
"Y'know, I don't care about social media or the corporate record business. We're the kind of band that needs to stay on the road and built it gig by gig. "We feel like now we've only started to get some touring traction where our audiences is getting solid and we have these pockets of places where people are excited. That's where we see what's happening."
Rest assured, however, that a new CRB album will be coming. Robinson says the group is "sitting on about seven or eight tunes" it hopes to record, plus four that it's been playing live, which totals a dozen. He says the existing songs feature "the CRB sort of folk/cosmic cowboy boots stuff" but adds there's also "another whole sort of mount of material that's different, darker, more groove-oriented." And he laughs about "the panic in Neal's face when I'm like, 'Yeah, let's just deal with it when we get in the (studio)."
"I have a really solid concept," says Robinson, 48, "but if I get too focused on that in an occult science way, we'll end up having a bluegrass record. So I don't want to overconceptualize where I'm going. I just want to let things happen in an organic way, like we always do. That seems to work best."
One thing Robinson knows, however, is that the Black Crowes remain in deep hibernation after his brother, guitarist Rich Robinson's scathing remarks earlier this year and his public declration the group is over.
"It seems like a distant garden party that started off nice and went on too long," Robinson says. "Everyone's allowed to believe what they think happened and be angry and vengeful and whatever. I'm a grown man. I'm responsible for one thing in my life and that's my perception of things.
"So everyone can call me whatever they want. I'll let my music and my career and who I am speak for me, man."
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Tuesday, Sept. 29. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
The Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac.
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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