@planetmosh reviews .@richsrobinson The Ceaseless Sight on .@theend records/Circle Sound Records.
The Ceaseless Sight is the third solo album from The Black Crowes founder member Rich Robinson recorded last year at Applehead Recording, Woodstock, New York. His solo albums have been few and far between, possibly because they only come along when the Crowes are on hiatus, but perhaps that’s a good thing, because they are always a treat, well worth the wait. As songwriter Robinson has always driven the Crowes forward with an unmistakeable sound, and it’s magnified here as he steps out of brother Chris’s frontman shadow and takes the spotlight himself. He’s accompanied by Joe Magistro (drums) and Marco Benevento (keyboards), and by guest vocalists Amy Helm and Katrine Ottosen, and Steve Molitz, who plays keys on “Down the Road.”
I’m struggling to pick a standout track because it’s one of those albums that just flows as one cohesive piece of work. That said, there are numerous influences. One Road Hill, featuring guest vocalist Amy Helm, with it’s folky hand-clapping conjures up images of playing guitars round the campfire. I Remember features the kind of blues guitar that seems to read your soul and translate your feelings into the purest of sounds. The same can be said for Robinson’s voice on In You. He has a far less rough, rocky voice than his brother, and on this song it’s plaintive, wistful and thoroughly beautiful. The guitar solo on Down The Road is probably as all out rock as the album gets, which is fitting as this is also the track which gives the album its name, “Past land and lakes and vista ‘scapes, ceaseless sight on the horizon.” This Unfortunate Show is the most Black Crowes like track, with percussion, keyboards and voice building into the catchiest chorus on the album, and guest vocals from Katrine Ottosen adding another element.
Special mention should also go to the album artwork. Often with reviews we listen to a digital download, but in this instance I had the chance to hold an actual CD in my hand and pore over the accompanying booklet. It’s very basic, just song lyrics and production information, but lots of thought has clearly gone into its sepia toned, soft focus cornfield photography, blended on the cover with original artwork by Marq Spusta, and inside with a flowing font and simple filigree which work with the music very well.
In short, this is that rare treat, an album where every track is a piece in a puzzle, put them together and you have something I’ll be listening to for a very long time. Which is good, because it’ll probably be a long wait for the next Rich Robinson album! I don’t give full marks to many albums, I like to think 4/5 gives you something to work towards, but I just can’t justify not giving this album the full 5/5.
I Know You / Down the Road / One Road Hill / The Giving Key / In Comes the Night / Inside / I have a Feeling / I Remember / In You / Trial and Faith / Obscure The Day.