As one of the great American bands of the past twenty years, The Black Crowes have just about seen and done it all. They have also stubbornly followed their music, no matter where it led them, or how unpopular it might have been. It is a trait that has earned the respect of fans and critics alike for many years now, regardless of their chart status.
But it all may be coming to an end with the release of Croweology. Strong rumors have surfaced that the tumultuous group will call it a day after the tour. If so, the guys will have pulled off something that nobody thought possible, a graceful exit from the big tent of rock 'n' roll.
Croweology is a two-disc set, and features twenty newly recorded acoustic versions of classic tracks. The music is played fast and loose, in what sounds at times like a live-in-the-studio setting. All the key elements are here, from gospel to blues, rock to soul, with some serious jamming along the way. The classic early seventies vibe they like so much is ever present, and a couple of new tricks are added to make things even more interesting.
There is no denying that the selection is weighted strongly toward the first four albums. But with songs like “She Talks To Angels,” “Thorn In My Pride,” and “Remedy” in pocket, who can blame them? Gospel was a big influence early on, but became less of a factor after The Southern Home And Music Companion. The sound returns via some gorgeous choral backgrounds, and is utilized on a number of tracks, including “Jealous Again,” “Soul Singing,” and “Morning Song.”
The hippie tendencies that The Black Crowes have always proudly identified with are here as well. Say what you want, but The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers both made some incredible music in their day. Chris and Rich Robinson obviously agree, paying tribute in with “Thorn In My Pride,” and the outstanding “Non Fiction.”