Happy Birthday Chris Robinson – the co-founder and lead vocalist of the Black Crowes turns 56 today! Chris, along with his brother Rich Robinson formed Mr. Crowes Garden in 1984, in Atlanta, Ga., named after the Leonard Leslie Brookes children’s book Johnny Crow’s Garden. It wasn’t until almost 5 years later that they decided to change their name – some ideas that were tossed around were “The Heartless Crowes” and the “Stone Mountain Crowes” before eventually landing on the name that has stuck ever since… The Black Crowes.
The first time I saw the Crowes live they opened for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in Camden at the Tweeter Center. To say I was blown away, would definitely be an understatement! And since, I have seen them skinny Black Crowes every time they have come through the Philadelphia area, including their very spacey run of shows at the Tower Theatre dubbed “Three Hours of Cosmic Rock & Roll”. I have a t-shirt from those shows, but I couldn’t find it… still looking! …man, those were long shows.
Over the past couple of years, the Crowes have been touring extensively behind the 30th anniversary of their debut album ‘Shake Your Money Maker’. Chris & Rich did a number of acoustic dates together on a promotional run leading up to the tour including a stop at the super-intimate Foundry here in Philadelphia. The place holds 450 people – felt like there was as least a thousand in attendance that night. I was honored to do the stage intro for the guys prior to their set. As you can imagine, the Philly crowd was amped… much to the dismay of the Robinson brothers. Seriously. The show was billed as acoustic, so Chris & Rich were in a much mellower mood than we were and that kind of ticked them off… especially Chris, because he was having a hard time hearing himself sing as well as Rich on guitar and kept asking the packed house to quiet down. Most did, some didn’t. Overall, it was an incredible show and great precursor to the Shake Your Money Maker 30th Anniversary tour that came through Camden, NJ along with Dirty Honey, part of a huge WMMR Concert Event in September 2021. The Black Crowes are one of those bands that when they are all on the same page and firing on all cylinders, they are straight fire live!
I’ve also had the opportunity to see Chris with a couple of his non-Crowes projects like New Earth Mud and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood… both good, but more of a jammy vibe compared to the Crowes rockin’ bluesy style.
The Black Crowes have a few festival dates overseas lined up in 2023, with nothing slated for Philadelphia – at the moment. 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of their sophomore album “The Musical Harmony and Southern Companion”, another fantastic record featuring the hits Remedy, Sting Me, Hotel Illness and one of my all-time favorites Thorn In My Pride. Hopefully they’ll do some shows or some touring to highlight that amazing album as well. I may go give it a spin now myself!
Happy Birthday Chris Robinson from all of us at WMMR!