Rich Robinson has lived a lifetime on the stage. The Georgia bred guitarist played alongside his brother in the soulful rock band The Black Crowes for over twenty years. Rich’s initial foray into a solo album began during a Crowes’ hiatus. When the Crowes announced their “Say Goodbye to the Band Guys Farewell Tour” in 2010, I knew Rich would not be left in the wings. This rocker lives and breathes the stage. His second solo effort “Through A Crooked Sun” is an masterful tale of turmoil and triumph. Rich welcomes fans into his life lived in song and invites them to stay a while. Rich graciously spoke with AMG before his hometown show at Smith’s Olde Bar.
How does your second solo album differ from your first solo venture?
On the first record, some of the songs were written for a Black Crowes record and some of the songs were written for this new band I had put together. That band kind of fell apart and I had all these songs. I had to do something with it…I can’t stand wasting material. I really liked them but they were written for other singers. After the band I put together for a minute fell apart I thought “F*ck, I’m just going to do this myself.” I think the difference with the first record…I like it, it was a good stepping point to get to this place. It fell in my lap instead of writing for my voice and understanding where my voice fits best and understanding lyrically how to convey what sort of message I want to convey. I had never written lyrics and I had never sung before so I just said “f*ck it” and I winged it. To me it was more of a frantic album and with this new record I knew I was going to do it, I knew I would be singing it, I had much more of an understanding of where my voice sits, what will work and what won’t work.
Was it scary to take the lead?
It’s cool, it’s different….I just really like to play. I like it when my band is good and I feel like I have a great band. It’s not something I am most comfortable with…being some sort of “front man.” But I just really like to play music. It’s a part of me. To be able to do it in this setting and also to play the music that I want to play is good. The Black Crowes are The Black Crowes, they are their own thing. This is definitely my thing. It is definitely cool to be able to step out and do that.
For me, and I’m sure other Crowes fans, it has been great to hear your sound and get to know you as an artist.
It has been great to see people in the crowd that I have seen for 20 years…a lot of the fans who have been coming to Crowes shows for 22 years! To be in these clubs and be close and talk to people and experience that has been really cool. We just back from Europe and it was great, we all had so much fun. It was us in a van driving for 6 or 7 hours a day, from Norway to Sweden to Germany. It was really cool, there was so much camaraderie there. It was positive, there isn’t any baggage. It just feels like a new thing. The last time we toured in the states the record hadn’t been out and the band was brand new. We were learning to be a band. This time around we’ve really stepped into a whole new level.
What song are you enjoying playing live right now?
I really like playing all the songs. I feel like we’re really hitting our stride on these songs and as you play a song live they kind of morph into something different…I can feel that is happening. We’re playing a lot of really cool covers as well.
Do you feel writing the songs for the new record was cathartic?
Yeah…the bio kind of talks about the record but it only really focuses on the negative like divorce. People tend to focus on the negative and it makes better press but what the record is really about is a positive thing. Finding a new love, finding a new wife and having babies, getting through all the sh*t and moving forward. It’s really coming from a more positive place and that’s where this record came from.
Catch Rich Robinson this Friday at Smith’s Olde Bar