Rich Robinson Talks Magpie Salute LP, Rules Out Black Crowes Reunion

In January 2017, Rich Robinson decided to resurrect the music of the Black Crowes during a four-night stand at New York’s Gramercy Theater with a little help from his ex-bandmates Marc Ford and Sven Pipien. They called the group (which also features singer John Hogg and members of Robinson’s solo band) the Magpie Salute. Much to their shock, the shows sold out within minutes and before they knew it over 75 gigs were booked all over America and Europe. “We really became a band on that tour,” says Robinson. “That’s what it takes, getting out there and touring and playing to where everyone can start to read each other’s minds. We became a single unit.”

Their set list consisted largely of Black Crowes songs and Rich Robinson solo tunes in addition to classic-rock covers like Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story” and Elton John’s “My Father’s Gun,” but during downtime between shows they began working on original tunes. “We wrote some during soundcheck and others in the back of the bus,” says Robinson. “Some songs I just wrote at home on my acoustic guitar.”

They’ve demoed all of the tunes and plan on cutting them in Nashville later this month for the Magpie Salute’s debut album. Robinson will produce the sessions himself. “Normally it’s just me and our drummer Joe [Magistro] when I make records,” he says. “So it’s cool to have Sven and this whole band in there recording us live as a band in the live room. We’re all really excited.” There’s no exact timeline for finishing the album or getting it into stores, but Rich thinks they should have a great deal of it done after just about six weeks in the studio. They’ll support it later this year with another tour. “I see this group as my main outlet now,” says Robinson. “I share such a strong musical connection with these people. Marc Ford and I have this thing and it’s something you can’t put your finger on and understand, but he and I just go to these places when we play together. The older I get, the more I realize how important that is.”