Nothing can stop the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Neither hell nor hurricane could keep the band and their Freak Flag from flying high during their recent Pensacola, Florida show.

Tropical Storm Gordon threatened CBR’s rescheduled performance, but Mother Nature digressed. CBR weathered the rain, making their Pensacola debut as the first show for the newly renovated Vinyl Music Hall.

Unfortunately, Neal Casal would not make the show. A few days before Pensacola, CBR announced the legendary guitarist would miss a few dates with Greg Loiacono stepping in for him on the tour.

Here is my feature with Chris Robinson that ran in the Pensacola News Journal ahead of the show. Robinson covers the CBR live vibe, his friendship with Tedeschi Trucks Band drummer/Pensacola native Tyler Greenwell and more…

Chris Robinson is coming back to Pensacola and looking for a statue.

“I get to come to the hometown of the Fountain of Tyler from Tedeschi Trucks. They must have a statue for him up there, right?”

Not yet. But that won’t stop Robinson from rocking when the Chris Robinson Brotherhood hits Vinyl Music Hall on Thursday, Sept. 6, in a rescheduled trip canceled earlier this year because of bad weather.

Robinson’s voice rang throughout Pensacola in the 1990s and 2000s as The Black Crowes rocked the Bayfront Auditorium, Springfest and the Saenger. But his return to the City of Five Flags will be Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s Pensacola debut — and the first show at Vinyl since its expansion and renovation.

 “It’s our virgin trip,” he said of his California-based band known for psychedelic concerts laced with special trips all of their own. “We’re not putting on a show. The show is the vibe, the crowd and us. We like to build stories and we have a lot of stories to tell.”

Stories also surround the legend of Robinson’s close friend Tyler Greenwell. Born and raised in Pensacola, Greenwell doesn’t have a statue, but he does have history.

Greenwell started out as a child of the Pensacola punk rock scene. Too young to get in, he snuck into shows at The Handlebar, leading to a love of drumming and the opportunity to play for Col. Bruce Hampton. The years of sacrifice and study led to Tedeschi Trucks in 2010 and a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album in 2011.

“He’s still punk rock,” Robinson added.

In 2013, Tedeschi Trucks and The Black Crowes hit the road for a co-headlining tour. Two years later when Tedeschi Trucks assembled a star-studded tribute to Joe Cocker, Robinson joined his friends onstage for the once-in-a-lifetime concert.

“He’s a genius,” Greenwell said of Robinson. “A genius musician and singer. One of the greats and certainly one of my favorite singers.”

But their friendship goes beyond music.

“He’s one of my favorite people I’ve ever met,” Robinson said.

“I feel the same about Chris,” Greenwell added. “CRB is a great band. Adam (MacDougall on keyboards), Neal (Casal on guitar), Tony (Leone on drums), they’re world-class players and all spectacular human beings. Everyone in town should go to that show and support this great band.” 

– Michael L. Hulin-Smith

ARTICLE published in the Pensacola News Journal August 27, 2018 “Chris Robinson Brotherhood makes Pensacola debut at Vinyl Music Hall” by Michael Smith
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