Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Apr 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Sun Also Rises

music_RobinsonWebExclusive: In times of famine and feast Rich Robinson is under the same sun

Rich Robinson’s dad is dying. And his newborn son, Bleu, is a mere three months old. Experiencing grief and happiness simultaneously has become a strange constant in Robinson’s life. At 25, he had everything: as a member of the blues-rock outfit The Black Crowes, Robinson was in a “comfortable state” financially, married to a beautiful wife, and playing shows around the world.

But even at the peak of the Crowes’ popularity in the early- to mid-’90s, something was off. “I was living this life that was askew,” says Robinson, now 42. “My relationships with the people that were supposed to be my closest seemed damaged. My marriage was not a good fit for either of us and we weren’t facing up to that. Though I love my brother [Chris, co-founder of The Black Crowes], the fact that my working environment can be challenging has been well-chronicled. Nothing was working like it should have been, but by many people’s standards, it was a dream come true.”

 

In a Job-like cataclysm, it was all gone: The Crowes went on hiatus—“We just made plans to not make plans for a while,” he explains—Robinson and his wife split, and she took the kids, and now Robinson’s dad on his deathbed.

It was enough to break a man, but, like his growing family, Robinson’s career is seeing a new day dawning. He’s on the road again, and making a stop at Moe’s Alley on Nov. 15 in promotion of his Oct. 11 release Through a Crooked Sun. The album could be viewed as his sophomore effort after Paper (2004)—but only if you don’t know the prolificacy of the Crowes.

For fans of the Crowes’ catalogue, Through a Crooked Sun isn’t a drastic departure—Robinson was the driving force behind the band’s songwriting, along with his brother Chris. But Sun is distinct from the Crowes in ways that even Robinson has difficulty articulating: “I wrote in a fully mindful sense of what is going to work with me and my vocals,” he says. “In doing that, it created something a little different. People that I’ve played the songs for were like, ‘This sounds really different for you,’ which I’m really happy with. It’s a place I’d like to explore more.”

That disparity can partially be attributed to the fact that Robinson is finally, truly independent in his writing. “Chris and I have written all the songs we’ve ever played together, and I always had someone to bounce ideas off of,” he says. “When I made [Sun], I didn’t have that, and it definitely felt weird. It felt like a different thing.”

On vacation from the Crowes, Robinson has evolved as a musician. “The one thing about being in a band is you’re kind of stuck with these same people,” he explains. “You create this language, but on the flip side, you don’t get to expand what you do.” Through exploration, he says, “I really feel much stronger in my voice, and I’m getting a much deeper knowledge of what I can handle and what I can’t.”

While once on shaky legs in his solo career—Robinson refers to his mindspace around Paper as “frantic”—for his second full-length solo album, he’s settled into a more comfortable rhythm. “I really just write,” he says. “I write these songs, and then when I put together a record, we go in and record everything, and the songs seem to dictate what works on a record.”

 


Rich Robinson plays at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 479-1854.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise