“Our love letter to rock ’n’ roll”: Southern rock icons The Black Crowes return with their first album in 15 years

Black Crowes 2024
(Image credit: Ross Halfin)

Atlanta southern blues rock stalwarts, Black Crowes have announced that Happiness Bastards, their first record in 15 years, will be released via Silver Arrow Records March 15. It’s preceded by the rip-roaring lead single, Wanting and Waiting, which you can check out below.

The new album, their ninth overall, arrives 40 years after brothers Chris and Rich Robinson formed the band, which became one of the biggest blues rock acts of the ‘90s after the success of debut release Shake Your Money Maker.

Happiness Bastards is our love letter to rock n’ roll,” says Chris Robinson. “Rich and I are always writing and creating music; that has never stopped for us, and it is always where we find harmony together. This record represents that.”

They’ve tapped Grammy Award-winning producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Keith Urban, Coheed and Cambria) for the record, which features 10 new tracks. The release offers their first new music since 2019’s live recorded studio album, Before The Frost…Until The Freeze, with its first taste, Wanting and Waiting channelling their ‘90s prime.

“This album is a continuation of our story as a band,” Rich Robinson continues. “Our years of experience writing and making music and touring the world are represented in this record, and we were brilliantly guided by one of the best producers in the business, Jay Joyce. I am incredibly proud of what we put together.”

The Black Crowes are on their third reunion after the brothers settled an alleged dispute over ownership of the band, which ended their first reunion in 2015. They’ve played over 150 shows in 20 countries worldwide since getting back together in 2019.

During those shows, the band is said to have needed something new to show for their lost time. That resulted in the Robinson brothers, alongside long-time bass player Sven Pipien, heading to the studio with producer Jay Joyce in early 2023. The press release offers no mention of who plays drums on the record. Cully Symington has been their touring drummer since 2023.

Black Crowes formed in 1984 with a sound that united psychedelic pop, southern rock – with the pentatonic licks of Gary Rossington a major influence – and ‘70s blues rock. The band exploded with their 1990 debut, Shake Your Money Maker, producing six albums during their first era, ending with 2001’s Lions.   

Rich Robinson, whose guitar collection includes a 1962 Gibson SG reissue, a 1963 ES-335 Rich Robinson replica and a custom-made Teye La Perla, has played over 15 variations of open tunings over the years, and h slide playing is a core element of his sound. He cites Jimmy Page and Nick Drake as influencing his decision to explore open tunings.

Black Crowes play two Las Vegas shows on February 9 and 10.

For more information and preorders, head to the Black Crowes website.

And for more from Rich Robinson, check out our exclusive interview, where he names the 11 guitarists who shaped his sound.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.