Backbone is the trio drummer Bill Kreutzmann formed after the Grateful Dead quietly retired after the death of Jerry Garcia. Hooking up with vocalist/guitarist Rick Barnett and bassist/saxophonist Edd Cook, Kreutzmann decided to explore loose-limbed, exploratory R&B jams. Each song on Backbone's eponymous album meanders from the beginning to the end, winding down obscure paths before wandering back to the beginning. Along the way they find some interesting riffs and licks, but the inclusion of the Dead's classic "New Speedway Boogie" emphasizes that the group has a long way to go before they pen anything approaching a standard.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine