The Black Crowes' star has always shined brightest in concert. In fact, the Robinson brothers survived slumping album sales and record-label woes in the late '90s by continuing to tour incessantly — which eventually attracted the attention of Jimmy Page, with whom the band toured in 2000. It makes sense, then, that the band turned to Levon Helm, another member of the rock & roll aristocracy, when it decided to record its latest album, Before the Frost...Until the Freeze. Tracked in front of a live audience over five days at Helm's legendary Woodstock, New York, studio, the Barn, Freeze is an eclectic collection. It ranges from deep-pocketed, sticky, Southern blues ("Good Morning Captain") to country-tinged slow-burning acoustic numbers reminiscent of Led Zeppelin III or CSNY ("What Is Home") and even a danceable, disco-infused romp ("I Ain't Hiding") for good measure. Chris Robinson executes his double entendre-laden blues-rock hooks with as much gritty panache as ever, and brother Rich's thick-as-molasses Les Paul guitar crunch sounds rejuvenated.
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