One of the things i like most about writing for Blogcritics Magazine is when something wonderful and wonderfully unexpected comes up as a review opportunity. One time it might be a book that looks utterly fascinating that never would have caught my eye, as it's in a genre I'm not that big a fan of. Or, as is the case with The Magic Door by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood (CRB), it's an album featuring one of my favorite vocalists of all time that I had no idea was even being released.
I love those times.
The Magic Door, now that I have had time to listen to it and find out what it's all about, is the second release by Chris and the Brotherhood in 2012. The first release, Big Moon Ritual, has been in continual rotation in my headphones since it was released in June. My hopes were high, therefore, when I saw this album available to review here at BC.
I was not disappointed. All of the things I loved about the first release are there in spades on The Magic Door, and then some.
This is an album that oozes melody in nearly syrupy thickness as it plays. One example is the opening licks of the sole "cover" track, Hank Ballard's "Let's Go, Let''s Go, Let's Go," where the CRB settle into a groove that just speaks to the fact that the band had played together for 118 shows before ever setting foot in the studio to record this album.
Thanks to that road-tested readiness, they are able to exude a looseness and loveliness in this song that just perfectly sets up what's in store as you settle in to listen to the other six tracks on the album. CRB seems to strike this wonderful balance between all of the very best things I love about a good "jam" band such as the Grateful Dead or Phish, while still keeping that R&B and soul-blues essence that fuels Chris Robinson's "other" band, the Black Crowes.