Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Coming back to the Crowes...

I discovered the Black Crowes from my friend, Grant. In fact, I discovered most any great musical act from the 90's and beyond from Grant. (I need to thank him for that the next time I see him.)

The Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker was the coolest thing I had ever heard. It was bluesy and cool and had just enough rock swagger for my delicate tastes.

Looking back, I can see how I loved the four chord simplicity and loose jamming style from that first record. When the second one came out, I liked it...but not as much. By the third project, Amorica, I was done. It was just too weird and by that time, their rock n' roll lifestyle was a bit too much for me.

About a month ago, I fired up and started listening back through the catalog. And suddenly...

I love them.
I love everything they ever did.

Here's the mistake I made back then: I went on emotion. I liked that first record because it was simple - basic, raw, uncomplicated bluesy rock n' roll. But those next records weren't as easy...they were syncopated and creative, a struggle to bring some creativity into a genre pretty much built on predictability. At the time, it felt weird, or as I would have said back then,

"It's hard to clap to..."

Now, the experiments in groove and the guts of those albums are more than just enjoyable. They are inspiring. Say what you will about the motivations, the ethic or the merits of such music among more respected artists...but one thing seems clear to me in hindsight:

This music was pure.