As The Crow Flies take on the legendary Ryman Auditorium
No other venue defines the spirit of music in this country more so than the legendary Ryman Auditorium located in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
Beginning in 1943 the historic venue served as the host for The Grand Ole Opry. However, following the Opry’s move in the early 1970’s, the venue lay dormant for over twenty years before being resurrected and repurposed as a space for hosting a myriad of live acts from around the globe.
The theme of resurrection is perhaps an apt one when musing about southern blues and rock dynamo, As The Crow Flies, who performed at the venue this past Sunday, April 29th.
Chris Robinson only recently brought his part of the Crowes’ legacy back from the dead this past fall when he announced the formation of As the Crow Flies.
This musical band of brothers includes Robinson, as well as former Black Crowes players Andy Hess (bass), Adam MacDougall (keys), and Audley Feed (guitar).
To fill out the flock Robinson also brought in current Chris Robinson Brotherhood drummer Tony Leone and rising southern rock hero Marcus King, lead guitarist and front man for the Marcus King Band.
Since the Black Crowes acrimonious dissolution in 2015, Robinson had made it more than clear that despite having a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for what the Black Crowes had accomplished, he lacked interest in resurrecting the band in any iteration.
The musical winds clearly shifted as earlier this year Robinson announced the formation of As the Crow Fliesm as well as the band’s intent to travel across America brining the Black Crowes music back to thousands upon thousands of adoring “Amoricans.”
The Black Crowes music at its core was deeply rooted in southern blues, rock and gospel, as well as the exact type of angst and heartache that the best of country music has been most often defined by.
Thus there probably couldn’t have been a better venue for Robinson and As the Crow Flies to descend upon than the Ryman Theatre and the sold out crowd of fans that piled into the venue’s door to bare witness to the band’s Sunday Service.
To date the the As the Crow Flies tour has been a work in progress.
The initially East Coast dates displayed some of the the type of moments that served as the conduit the Black Crowes used to mesmerize fans globally for over twenty-five years.
However, the first handful of As the Crow Flies performances also proved that decades worth of the the electric on and off stage chemistry the Black Crowes shared with one another, couldn’t be replicated by the band after a mere few rehearsals.
Fast forward a few weeks into the tour and As the Crow Flies have seemingly time warped themselves into a band that has been together and touring for years on end.
The band’s performance at the Ryman this past Sunday should have easily proved to any doubters that they’re more than capable of delivering the kind of Black Crowes live show that fans would spend weeks talking about following the curtain’s final draw back in band’s glory days.
From the outset of the performance in Nashville anyone not blind or deaf could feel the energy the band was outpouring from the Ryman’s lighted stage.
Hard charging takes on Black Crowes’s Southern Harmony and Musical Companion classics, “Remedy”, “Sting Me”, and “Hotel Illness” started the performance off with a proverbial bang that shook the Ryman audience to the bone.
Robinson in particular appeared to be in an excitable state and beyond playful mood. Swaggering from stage end to stage end, the front man delighted the audience with his resplendent vocals, as well as some of his Black Crowes era dance moves, throughout the entirety of the performance.
The Bridgestone Arena, home to the Nashville Predators, is but a mere few steps from the hallowed entrance of the Ryman Auditorium.
Following the end of any Predators contest the hockey writers announce their “stars of the game.” Had any of them been in attendance at the Ryman to pass out those types of accolades without question, the first three stars would have had to have been assigned to Robinson, as well as the dual guitar threat of King and Freed.
The two ax men floored the Ryman audience time and time again with solos and their combustible live performance chemistry.
King gave fans a small dose of his bombastic guitar playing early on in the set towards the closing of “By Your Side”.
The Greenville, South Carolina-based guitarist would go on to leave those in attendance scratching their heads and picking their jaws off the Ryman’s floor with blistering solos on Black Crowes live staples that included “Wiser Time” and “High Head Blues”.
Not to be outdone Lions era Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed took flight on more than occasion on the evening.
Freed pushed his solos on “Wiser Time” and “Seeing Things” to levels of musical bliss that unquestionably had fans hypnotized and begging for more.
Other highlights of the band’s performance in Nashville included a refulgent rendition of the Crosby, Stills Nash, and Young track, “Almost Cut My Hair” and “Hard to Handle”, which also segued into of a jam of the Deep Purple’s classic, “Hush”.
As the Crow Flies came back out one final time to wow the Ryman audience with a one two musical punch of fan favorite “Halfway to Everywhere” as well as a rump shaking cover of Rick Derringer’s “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo”.
Just a few years ago it seemed as though Black Crowes fans would have to resign themselves to reliving the band’s greatness via foggy live show memories and the band’s recorded catalogue.
Fast forward to 2018 and devotees of the Atlanta, Georgia rockers suddenly find themselves swimming in a deep ocean of opportunities to share the ride with their southern fried musical heroes via not one, but two Black Crowes related projects.
Until that times comes, or should that musical dream never come to fruition, be sure to seek out the one remedy that can cure any cravings you may still harbor for all things Black Crowes, a ticket to an As the Crow Flies show.
Hell froze over and the Eagles got back together, so there has to be some semblance of hope that the Robinson brothers will reunite in the future to once again tour and record with one another.
That’s the remedy, don’t you see?
Few chances left to see the band:
|MAY8||As The Crow Flies w/ Once and Future Band at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
Tue 6:30 PM PDT · 269 guests
|Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
|MAY13||As The Crow Flies featuring Chris Robinson
Sun 8 PM PDT · 458 guests