The Magpie Salute
High Water I
Eagle Rock Entertainment
What do you do after reuniting half of a stellar rock band, putting out an album, touring the world, and playing 70+ shows with a constantly revolving set list of over 170 songs? Well if you’re Rich Robinson and his mischief of Magpies, you go back to the studio and get to work on the next one.
High Water I is the second album from The Magpie Salute and is a bold and flavorful mix of 12 new songs. This album hosts a slimmed-down version of The Magpie Salute, while maintaining the core of the group all present at it’s inception in Woodstock, 2016. And while we, the fans, desperately miss the Magpie family members that are on to other projects, this group of 6 pulls out all the musical stops and puts all their collective talent on full display.
Rich Robinson and Marc Ford bring back the chemistry on dual guitars that started in the early ’90s as members of The Black Crowes and continues to be a key signature to their creative sound. John Hogg’s lyrical genius and vocal finesse set the right tone either on lead vocals, or when he’s on harmonies and back-up vocals. Sven Pipien and his ferociously laid-back bass work continues to set the path on which the band can follow while Joe Magistros intricate drumming breathes in and out of each song and allows the band the space they need. Also back from the Woodstock session is the highly sought-after keys player, Matt Slocum. His delicate touches, initially set out by the late Eddie Harsch, help carry on the sound that is High Water I.
Songs like “Mary The Gypsy”, “Send Me An Omen”, and “Take It All” are riff-driven rockers while “Sister Moon” and “High Water” border on what I call a hybrid rock ballad. John Hogg sings harmonies and back up on “Can You See” while Rich, obviously comfortable in the lead position, takes the vocals. The 3rd front-man of the group, Marc Ford, also get a vocal lead on the John Hogg co-written, “Walk On Water”. It’s the third tune on the album co-written between Marc and John, along with “Take It All” and “Sister Moon”.
Another stellar track of John’s is “Color Blind”, which speaks to his multi cultural background and it’s effects on him growing up in London. Each of the Magpies individually shine on this track while John’s personal experiences help to punctuate the importance of the message it contains. It’s one of many highlight of the album and a wonderful statement on the current state of affairs that should resonate with us all.
You may hear subtle influences of The Beatles as well as Rich’s affinity for Nick Drake’s open tuned guitar, but make no mistake, High Water I is a genuine sum of all the parts and the resulting music is quite simply, the beautiful truth. The album is a great continuation from The Magpie Salute (Live) and I look forward to High Water II, slated for release next year.
So, salute the Magpie when he crosses your path and definitely grab this album. The more I listen the more I hear and what better fortune could come than the blessing of good music.