Rich Robinson–singer-songwriter-guitarist and co-founding member of The Black Crowes–has announced the formation of THE MAGPIE SALUTE. It’s an exciting new band that brings together four key members of The Black Crowes-Rich, guitarist/vocalist, guitarist Marc Ford, keyboardist Eddie Harsch, and bassist Sven Pipien-with members of Rich’s own band: drummer Joe Magistro, keyboardist Matt Slocum, and backing vocalists Adrien Reju and Katrine Ottosen, along with some other friends.
THE MAGPIE SALUTE will be unveiled January 19 when they headline the Gramercy Theatre in New York, performing songs from The Black Crowes catalog, solo material from Rich and Marc plus “whatever else may materialize,” says Rich. Pre-sale tickets will be available October 19, followed by the general on-sale October 21: See the graphic below and watch the trailer below.
“The name The Magpie Salute comes from a superstition based in the UK,” explains Rich about the band’s moniker. “There are many variations, but the version I’m drawn to is the belief that if you see a Magpie, you would do well to salute it “to ward off negativity, or to have a good day.” The way you salute the Magpie, based on some traditions is to say ‘Good Mornin’ Captain.’ The reason we salute is to show we’re unarmed, or what I like to say is ‘we come in peace.’ The Magpie falls within the Crowe umbrella of species, figuratively and literally. Magpies can be black and white which represents the light and the dark. I figured all of these things touch on many aspects of my life and this experience.”
Asked about THE MAGPIE SALUTE‘s multiple players and singers, Rich says, “I wanted to try something different. I wanted to hear this music with two drummers, two keyboard players, and multiple singers. I, and everyone involved, love playing music. Not only on our own, in The Crowes and in my band, but playing music in general. We want to make music again together with a fresh perspective. To present this music I wrote in a different light with these amazing players is going to be really special to me.”
Will the Gramercy Theatre show have the songs and improvisational flights that The Black Crowes were famous for? “Absolutely, that’s what we do when we get together,” says Marc. “Now the vocal position will obviously be different… it opens other places to go with different singers. The bottom line for me is that we love playing together; we have a respect for what we’ve done together and for all of the people that want to hear it.”
THE MAGPIE SALUTE marks the reunion of the Robinson and Ford guitar team. (Ford left The Black Crowes after their fourth album and 1997 Further Festival tour.) “The Crowes have had their share of guitar players,” says Rich. “Each one has been really cool to play with and each one has brought their own unique playing to the band. That being said, I personally feel that Marc and I have a very deep musical connection. The way he and I played together on those records really showcases that musical bond. As I get older I realize what a gift it is to play with people with whom you share that language of music.” Reflecting about their deep musical connection, Marc says: “It’s one of those things that was there before we met. Musically we were already family.”
The seeds were planted for THE MAGPIE SALUTE in August 2016 when Rich performed in Woodstock (New York) at Applehead Studio where he’s recorded his last three albums. “Sven Pipien has been playing with me on my current tour. So for fun I decided to invite Marc and Eddie from the original Crowes lineup to join us. It turned out to be such a cool, cathartic, and inspirational experience for us all. We all have such a strong musical connection from that band. Most importantly we all have a life’s worth of family experience together. We’ve traveled the world together, seen a lot of far out experiences, playing with our heroes, emotional ups and downs, all wrapped within a very unique life experience, which is the thread that has always kept the connection together.” Marc says about the show at Applehead Studios: “The playing was an amazing second to seeing their faces.”
THE MAGPIE SALUTE chose NYC for their first show because, says Rich, “New York has always been really supportive of me and the Crowes. I thought it would be a great place to unveil this.”