CRB ‘Record Store Day’ special release builds anticipation

Jay Blakesburg

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood at Stinson Beach.
Photo by Jay Blakesburg

Chris Robinson Brotherhood has set sail “Comin’ Round The Mountain,” “Dice Game” and “Let It Fall,” off its upcoming album “Servants of the Sun” (Silver Arrow Records – full album release June 14).

“Dice Game” and “Let It Fall” were released Saturday, April 13, on a limited-edition, 10-inch picture disc for this year’s Record Store Day. The record already is a collectors’ item.

“Servants of the Sun” will be CRB’s follow-up release to 2017’s “Barefoot In The Head.” While “Barefoot” offered a bit of a change up in a sense, with its oath to play never-before-utilized-instruments (on a CRB album) and a heavy acoustic soundscape, “Comin’ Round The Mountain” and “Dice Game” seem to elicit more of an early-CRB, psychedelic rock and roll, no-frills, all-thrills approach.

“Comin’ Round The Mountain,” out on YouTube two weeks ago, is an up-tempo cosmic boogie groove, with a very hooky series of chord changes that keeps you on your toes – a CRB trademark. Tony Leone (drums) and Jeff Hill (bass) are rock-solid on rhythm, and the intergalactic weave of Adam MacDougall (keyboards) and Neal Casal (guitar) is ever present. Chris Robinson delivers, as is often the case, with esoteric imagery in his lyrics, along with throwback soul/rock vocals, that makes you feel like you are closer to the music of 1969 than 2019.

“Let It Fall” is the lead track off the 10-inch Record Store Day release. Casal offers his trademark melodic slide guitar with (Mick) Taylor-made tone, and Leone drives the rhythm through his influences – funk meets jazz meets Americana. It’s a great song to roll down the windows to and cruise through the Central California hills on Highway 101.

That said, “Dice Game” is my personal favorite of these two. There’s immediately an ear-catching progression coupled with Casal’s impeccable slide guitar licks in the intro. Robinson sets a melancholic, bittersweet scene, which (in my opinion) is his specialty. The bridge is a brilliant pickup, and then the song swallows back into the wistful intro, which then becomes the outro, and the song is suddenly over. Maybe a tad abrupt, but I think that is the point. It’s a bit of a road trip tag-a-long, and sometimes the most memorable journeys are over before you are ready for it to end.

If this single is a prelude of things to come, then I think we are looking at a strong upcoming release with “Servants of the Sun.” The CRB hasn’t let me down yet, and it doesn’t look it they are about to start now. In fact, I think we might be in for an uptick of material (not a slight on “Barefoot” at all – it’s a record I have played regularly into the ground).

— Jon Siembieda

  • Chris Robinson Brotherhood
    Dice Game’ and ‘Let It Fall’  limited edition Record Store Day 10-inch picture disc
    Released: April 13, 2019

About Jon Siembieda

Writer Jon Siembieda plays guitar in the Southern California-based touring rock 'n' roll band Hunter & The Dirty Jacks. He is an avid concertgoer and album collector. His top five favorite bands are The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Faces, Mother Hips and Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

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