Black Crowes, Son Volt, Cross Canadian Ragweed

It's a fine line between retro and rehash, but the Black Crowes always manage to tread that precipitous divide with swagger and finesse. In the 17 years since they made their debut, the band, helmed by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, remains relevant and resilient. With a new effort in the planning stages and a number of critically acclaimed albums in their catalog—Shake Your Money Maker, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion and Amorica chief among them—the Crowes are a prodigious bunch with no shortage of material bolstering their onstage inventory. At the same time, they've never masked their obvious influences, a template carved in the late '60s and early '70s by such rough and rowdy British bands as Free, the Faces and the Stones. Their willingness to pillage their predecessors reached its zenith in their 2000 concert collaboration with Jimmy Page, Live At the Greek, which found them eagerly retracing old Zeppelin tunes and blues standards. Offstage antics have figured into the Crowes' M.O., too, specifically the bust-ups between Chris and Rich, Chris' Hollywood marriage to Kate Hudson and the usual excesses that accompany a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. But a little scandal just reinforces a bad-boy mystique mined from the rock of ages.


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