Vinyl Blog #14. The Black Crowes -Before The Frost..Until The Freeze
In the realm of rock music, The Black Crowes are easily one of the most interesting and influential bands of the last 25 years. They were relentlessly focused on maintaining a certain amount of integrity to the music they created. Their records challenged the listener. The band never repeated themselves from one release to the next. This came at a cost in terms of commercial success throughout the years, but to the real fans of rock music, I don't believe that this mattered much. The crowds showed up in droves to any show The Black Crowes were a part of, until the end of the band in 2013.
As a long time fan of The Black Crowes, It was pretty cool to see that their final album would be a double release. It was a large body of all new material, recorded in Woodstock New York at Levon Helm's barn studio in front of an audience, over the course of five nights. It was produced by Paul Stacey. The first disc highlighted eleven rock and blues inspired tracks, while the second disc showed the country influences of the band. Guitar World interviewed the band about the recording approach in 2009. “It was a much different process than what we’re used to,” says guitarist Rich Robinson. “When you do a record, you usually have time to dissect the songs in the studio and work them out. But having an audience there, we wanted to put on a great show while we were recording, and that didn’t leave a lot of room for changing stuff.”
Before The Frost..Until The Freeze was released on August 31st, 2009 through the bands label Silver Arrow Records, and was well received by both critics and the fans. The subsequent tour to support the album was also a huge success. It now appears that this is indeed, the last studio album that we will see from The Black Crowes. Before The Frost..Until The Freeze serves as an epic final statement, and does bookend an impressive career by the band. In the wake of the break up of The Black Crowes, Chris and Rich Robinson have gone on to pursue more intimate and grass roots solo careers. I sometimes wonder what it must be like in the internal workings of a band like this, to where they render themselves unable to work together? Hopefully they can patch things up one day and continue to make great music together. Until then, we have their back catalog to enjoy and be inspired by, as well as the brothers separate solo work, which is well worth exploring.