Let me put it like this. The way I described the sound of this band and this album in particular to a friend of mine was for him to imagine the lovechild of Jerry Garcia and Greg Allman that was adopted and raised by Mahalia Jackson. It's just a slithery and sensual earful of southern blues-rock goodness.
The Magic Door is just a perfect companion to the debut release by the CRB, Big Moon Ritual, which was just as wonderful but featured a few more powerful and driving melodies. If Big Moon Ritual was the exploratory drive to see what Chris Robinson and guitarist Neal Casal could discover together, then The Magic Door is the relaxed drive back home as they shared stories back and forth concerning what they'd seen "out there" together.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love the direction Chris Robinson has taken in his new band—and that's what it feels like. Instead of a side-project, it's an actual band in and of its own right that is just as valid if not road-tested as the Black Crowes. I recommend both of their albums as worthy purchases.
If I were going to choose just one of them, though, I think my favorite of the two would have to be this one. The Magic Door is just wonderful. You can press play on this and just find something new and wonderful each and every time you listen to it.
This release gets a solid 8/10 from me. If you're a fan of either the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes or, like myself, the voice of Chris Robinson in general, you will love this album.