There is no question that Chris Robinson is a talented songwriter, performer and vocalist. In fact, his platinum pipes and incredible stage presence were the backbone of his former band, The Black Crowes,' success. With songs (and attire) rooted deep in American rock & roll history, The Black Crowes experienced tremendous success throughout their lengthy run together and pooled an amazingly devoted following. Now, with The Black Crowes on indefinite hiatus, Robinson has struck out on his own with New Earth Mud. The album is 12-track collection of deeply personal, song-oriented offerings that showcase Robinson's soulful vocals to the fullest. His passionate delivery simply makes the album.
While overall, the wailing guitars of yesteryear have taken a back seat to a more mellow, acoustic sound, a bit of funky '70s soul did sneak its way into New Earth Mud. "Could You Really Love Me" begins with a down-tempo groove, but it features an upbeat soul-leaning bridge with full on wah-wahs and Curtis Mayfield-esque falsetto backing vocals. Speaking of Curtis Mayfield, "Ride" is a funktified, booty-shaking track worthy of Mr. Superfly himself. Always true to roots music, Robinson does serve up a bit of country as well, as "Sunday Sound" is a slide guitar-tastic Southern rocker. Other noteworthy tracks include "Safe In The Arms Of Love," "Kids That Ain't Got None," and my personal favorite, the love-inspired "Katie Dear." Whether it be soul, country, or rock, Chris Robinson pulls it off with ease, and with New Earth Mud, he proves that he can do it all by his lonesome.