Ori. Release '02. Debut solo album by the former Black Crowes frontman. Includes a bonus DVD - A Documentary Film By Darren Ankenman & Live Acoustic Performances.
Former Black Crowes
frontman Chris Robinson quickly stakes out his own turf on his solo debut, frequently eschewing his familiar rock rasp for a simpler, neo-folkie delivery. Tracks like the soulful "Fables," the haunting "Katie Dear," and infectious "Silver Car" most effectively navigate a new path. But ironically, Robinson's deliberate distancing from the Crowes' excesses paints him into problematic corners. The laid-back country jones he exhibits on "Sunday Sound" and "Barefoot by the Cherry Tree" often gets the best of him, while the spare, promising folk-rock of "Could You Really Love Me?" degenerates into familiar Robinson tent-revival vocal territory. If "Ride"'s funky corners and Robinson's general willingness to experiment show promise, they also suggest the singer's talents need a little competitive goosing, a reinforcement the decades-old truism that the greatest rock music is often the byproduct of the fiercest rivalries and infighting. --Jerry McCulley