The Black Crowes

The signs were all there that a reconciliation between the feuding hermanos Robinson would lead to a 2005 reunion of the Black Crowes, who broke up after a contentious 2001 Halloween gig. Chris's New Earth Mud band canceled a tour for their just-released second record, and Rich's Hookah Brown ceased activity.

Then, when telltale puffs of animated smoke (undoubtedly of the cannabis kind) started to emanate from the mouths of the two ebony crows on the band's long-dormant Web site, the fans got excited. There followed an official announcement -- turns out that was a peace pipe the crows were toking on -- and the excitement grew when the rest of the lineup was announced: Birds from several different eras of the band (Marc Ford on guitar, Sven Pipien on bass and Eddie Hawrysch on keyboards) were on board. (Interestingly, original drummer Steve Gorman -- the sole non-Robinson survivor of the band's original lineup on the last tour -- isn't in this incarnation of the band. Bill Dubrow takes his place.)

Die-hard fans who post insane amounts of copy on the band's site are also excited about set lists for preview shows, which change nightly and embrace both hits and rarities spanning the band's catalog, along with some surprising covers.

The Black Crowes have always wonderfully mixed hard rock, jam band and '70s boogie tendencies. And though best experienced live, they've also put out many underrated studio efforts. Their full-length tour (before a summer jaunt with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) actually kicks off here in Houston, so we'll have a chance to see them emerge from the nest first. And hopefully, other writers will be able to stay away from aviary metaphors better than this one.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero