Hear Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s Record Store Day Live Track ‘Lazy Days': Exclusive Premiere
On April 17, Chris Robinson will hit the road for a limited run of shows with a new band called As the Crow Flies. Kicking things off in Port Chester, N.Y., Robinson and his crew will be tearing through a set list packed with Black Crowes classics as well as many fan favorites.
Still, Robinson is adamant that this short tour is no more than that, and his focus is completely and wholly on the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.
In fact, a few days following the tour's kick-off, the CRB will be celebrating the release of a very special live release for Record Store Day called Raven's Reels, Vol. 1, a four-LP set documenting the band's show at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sept. 24, 2017.
For longtime fans of the CRB, this release may feel somewhat similar to the band's Betty's Blends series, the living and ever-changing organism of records recorded and curated by the Grateful Dead's Betty Cantor-Jackson, but Robinson wants to assure the world that this latest release will be its own thing.
"When Betty and I sort of cooked up the Betty's Blends thing, we used Record Store Day as a vehicle to build it up," Robinson tells UCR. "The popularity of Betty's Blends — if you call it that — has led to it having its own life."
In the midst of promoting the CRB's latest album, Barefoot in the Head, Robinson was asked by a fan if he has "something else" coming, and it got him thinking about collaborating with his in-house engineer, Chris "The Raven" Albers, on a new project.
Ahead of the release of Raven's Reels on Record Store Day — which is set for April 21— we have a sneak peek of the project with the set's opening track, a cover of Gram Parsons's 1967 tune "Lazy Days." Check it out below.
"He's been with us since our first show in Los Angeles, which was seven years ago," Robinson explains about Albers. "He started as our merch guy and then he moved to recording, and he even did some stuff with the Black Crowes. So, yeah, we're really proud of his recordings as well. He has a different 'thing' than Betty, so to have the opportunity to do Raven's Reels is awesome. What we do with Betty's Blends, it has its own thing, it's almost like a regular release as opposed to something that's special or limited. What Chris is doing is something different, and the whole look is different, from the artwork to the vibes."
Robinson is excited to add this new release to the CRB's growing catalog, and he seems confident that fans will respond with the same enthusiasm that they do with Betty's work.
"Our world is alive on the stage," he says, with an obvious sense of pride in his voice. "It's alive with the music, with the scene and with the people who come to see us. That's why we play different sets and tell different stories every night, so I think it's super exciting to have Raven's Reels out in the world, out in the record stores. Raven is out there, he's a working man ... this is the working man's volume, you know? There's no one who has listened to more CRB music than the Raven."
And if fans are curious, yes, there are still more blends from Betty on the way.
"Betty told me the next set is ready. We're just trying to get it all together [for the fall]," Robinson confides. "It'll be Betty's Midwestern Magik Blends, Vol. 4. Those recordings are from [bassist Jeff Hill's] first tenure — I think it's Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison and Detroit."
Raven's Reels will be available at independent record stores on April 21. There will be only 1,200 copies released. You can get more details on the limited edition four-LP set at the Record Store Day website.