Chris Robinson / The Chris Robinson Brotherhood

The Magic Door

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A companion piece to June's Big Moon Ritual, September's Magic Door finds the Chris Robinson Brotherhood in perhaps a rowdier mood than a few months prior, rocking harder from the get-go with a nicely shambolic reading of Hank Ballard's "Let's Go Let's Go Let's Go," and following it up with an earthy blues shuffle "Someday Past the Sunset." Soon afterward, the CRB slides into purple paisley territory, reviving the Black Crowes' trippy western ballad "Appaloosa" and stretching out for a long 14 minutes on "Vibration & Light Suite," signs that Robinson's second band are cheerfully unwashed hippies, happy to follow the groove wherever it may lead them. Generally, Magic Door runs a little shorter than Big Moon Ritual, and it does have a bit more of a rollicking blues vibe -- "Little Lizzie Mae" picks up on the thread left from "Someday Past the Sunset" and "Wheel Don't Roll" has a nicely boozy gait -- but this ain't rock & roll, this is cosmic American music, a trippy celebration of everything the Dead meant. If you're ready to get on the bus, Magic Door will surely take you further.

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