Robinson and New Earth Mud
the Black Crowes made their recorded debut with Shake
Your Money Maker in 1990, it was like a bolt out of
the blue—or a bolt out of 1973, anyway. Helmed by the brothers
Robinson, guitarist Rich and vocalist Chris, the Crowes
rocked with enough soul to shame hair-metal poseurs back
into hibernation, and enough Glimmer Twins swagger to show
up flannel-bedecked grungesters as the overearnest boors
they often were. As befit their unapologetically outsized
arena-rock persona, the band toured aggressively—hell, mercilessly—gaining
a reputation as purveyors of one of the purest live rock
experiences available. (It was no accident that Led Zeppelin’s
Jimmy Page teamed up with the Robinsons for a tour; Chris
sang the livin’ shit outta the Zep tunes, stealing back
for the States the blues that Robert Plant swiped years
Though the band’s record sales slowed over the decade, their
dedication to performance won them a loyal following that
kept them afloat and more or less focused through the travails
of the hard-touring life. Progress was never smooth however,
and as a means of combating boredom during a slow period,
Chris branched out with a solo project, the fruits of which
were recently released as the 12-track New Earth Mud.
Fans of the Black Crowes will find much to like on the album:
Robinson’s voice is as soulful and ballsy-emotive as ever,
and the organic, predigital vibe is undisturbed. But if
you think, “Hell, I’ll just throw on The Southern Harmony
and Musical Companion again,” you should think again.
There’s a thread, a quality, shared between Robinson’s band
work and this project, but it’s not Crowes redux. There’s
less leer and strut in the music and a bit more ramble and
laze. It’s a kind of sunny Southern Californian tumble through
loose funk and gentle, poppy psychedelia. The songs are
less challenging in some ways than the Crowes at their pissiest-and-vinigariest,
but it seems the sound of a pleasantly baked contentment
rather than a slackening. Now the question is, armed with
this easygoing, jammy set, can Robinson resist the urge
to tear shit up when he hits the Northern Lights stage on
Chris Robinson and New Earth Mud will play Northern Lights
(Route 146, Clifton Park) on Sunday (Dec. 15). Tickets for
the 7:30 PM show are $20. For more information, 371-0012.
everyone agrees that the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall has
gorgeous acoustics. We’ll go out on a limb and say that
the four singers who will take the stage this Sunday afternoon
are likely to create as unique and wondrous a sound as has
ever been heard in the venerable hall. Continuing their
106-year-old tradition of showcasing great artists, Troy
Chromatic Concerts will present the Anonymous 4.
The quartet of Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Jacqueline
Horner and Johnna Marie Rose have won renown (and a large
following) with a vocal repertoire that, for the most part,
dates to before the 14th century. Whether singing plainsong,
chant, liturgical works or contemporary pieces by such composers
as Steve Reich or Richard Einhorn, these women create a
clear yet ethereal sound that resonates with spirituality
and beauty. As they explain on their Web site, “our ideal
concert program is not too long (just under an hour and
a half), without intermission, unbroken by applause and
held together by a single theme. . . . We interweave chant
and polyphonic music to create a dramatic unity from many
short works.” Given the season, their program this time
will be Wolcum Yule, a selection of Celtic and British carols
and songs taken from both the pagan and Christian traditions.
Accompanied by Alyssa Reit on Celtic harp, they will present
two newly commissioned carols by Peter Maxwell Davies and
Jocelyn Pook in addition to the traditional material, as
well as Benjamin Britten’s much-loved A Ceremony of Carols.
Anonymous 4 will perform Sunday (Dec. 15) at 4 PM at the
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (corner of Second and State
streets, Troy). Tickets are $28, $25. Call 273-0038 for
reservations and information.
of the most popular musicals of all time will grace the
stage at Proctor’s Theatre beginning Tuesday. Miss Saigon,
which was written by Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel
Schonberg (who also wrote Les Miserablés), is the
sixth-longest-running show on Broadway and has won three
Tony Awards. The story is based on the timeless Puccini
opera Madame Butterfly, and is set in 1975 during
the final days before the American evacuation of Saigon.
It tells the story of two lovers torn apart by destiny yet
held together by a burning passion and the fate of a small
child. A blend of love ballads, rousing marches and more,
the score of Miss Saigon conjures up the steamy nights,
crowds, passions and dangers of wartime Saigon.
Saigon will be performed at Proctor’s Theatre (432 State
St., Schenectady) from Tuesday (Dec. 17) through Dec. 22.
Shows are at 8 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and 2 PM Thursday,
Saturday and Sunday. The Sunday (Dec. 22) show will be sign-interpreted
for the hearing impaired. Tickets are $49, $42 and $39.
For tickets or more information, call 346-6204 or visit