Rich Robinson, best known as the guitarist and co-founder of The Black Crowes with brother Chris, has finally released his long awaited third solo album. Since fans cannot garner new material due to the band’s continued hiatus, Rich Robinson’s The Ceaseless Sight will have to suffice. It’s unavoidable to not compare this release to The Black Crowes, the album is peppered with the electric blues swagger that Rich and Chris adequately pioneered throughout the 90’s. Though there is a subdued side to Rich’s solo effort, songs driven by the melancholy of folk music under a deep marinade of soul. The Ceaseless Sight is untrodden yet familiar and re-brands the malnourished genre while feeding the ravenous fan base.
The first guitar wails of “I Know You”, cascaded with jabs of piano, you get transported back to 1995. The backwoods blues-rock flamboyance would be fitting on any early Black Crowes record with brother Chris strutting about on stage. The one thing missing, unfortunately this happens often on the record, is Chris’ amazing voice. The song’s vigorous disposition could have benefited from an assertive vocal style, as Rich’s vocal style is more mellow and unobtrusive in comparison. This style works on a majority of tracks on The Ceaseless Sight, such as the artisan twang of “Down the Road”. “One Road Hill” has a catchy chorus that fuses effortlessly with old-timey gospel renditions. Whether its intention or not, the song takes on a spiritual ambience and lifts any sunken spirit. “The Giving Key” sounds like a Crowes B-side, with its modest layered mesh of electric to acoustic strums behind the occasional flair of an organ and piano sprawls. Rich Robinson harnesses a batch of emotions within his songwriting on his third solo effort. “In Comes The Night” ditches the bravado with gentle plucks and a shaky voice to showcase a broken spirit in need of mending. “I Have A Feeling” rides an eerie guitar bend, riding the momentum to a vulnerable guitar solo that rivets those still along for the ride.
“I Remember” is one of Robinson’s most inspired tracks, not only through the rare appearance of domineering vocals but also in his vivid chorus shadowed by thundering solo after solo. The album’s swan song “Obscure The Day” finishes us out with a pounding rhythm that progresses into a calming instrumental to end a beautifully conflicted record. With The Ceaseless Sight, Rich Robinson has fully matured as a solo artist and could go any direction if inspired. While The Black Crowes will forever be a part of his past, it does not mean he can’t use that experience to dictate his future.