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The Black Crowes New Album Made Me a Happy One

On March 15, 2024 The Black Crowes released their new album “Happiness Bastards”. The ten song album marks the bands 40th year anniversary, and upon listening it is clear that they were having fun celebrating. It takes their classic country, rock, and blues sounds, but builds on them with subtle influences of genres like psychedelia, electronic, and funk. This creates a fun album that grabs the attention of new listeners and keeps existing fans engaged.


Sometimes hearing that a band has released an album in the year of their 40th anniversary might cause audiences to quiver in fear and question whether or not they have the longevity to continue making quality music. The Black Crowes quickly settle fears with “Happiness Bastards” as they come in swinging. The opening track “Bedside Manners” hits hard from the start with bluesy guitar and piano riffs and an upbeat that makes listeners want to dance. Later in the song there is a funky breakdown that just puts a smile on one's face. In totality, the song sets the tone for the rest of the album and gets listeners ready for a good time.


One of the songs that particularly caught my attention was “Cross Your FIngers”. As a listener I was expecting an acoustic driven ballad based on the beginning, but quickly my expectations were flipped on their head. Funky bass lines, spacy keys and background guitars, and a heavy main guitar riff had me in a trance, then I was drawn back in by the catchy rhythmic chorus. It reminded me of one of my favorite artists, Lewis Taylor, an unsung hero of the 90’s R&B scene. The psychedelic guitar and organ and heavy drums really reminded me of his sound, but the verses were so different from his. I found this combination so engaging and fun to listen to.


The psychedelic and contemporary influences on “Cross My Fingers” could not be contrasted more than with the song “Bleed It Dry”. You can hear the influences from old country blues legends like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters on this song, as seen in the slide and harmonica. What is interesting about these two songs however is the fact that even though they have quite different influences they fit together very well. This displays The Black Crowes unique skills as a band to create unique music that truly has a sound of its own.


“Happiness Bastard” is now available on all streaming platforms, and it will certainly be entering my playlists. I encourage readers to go take a listen, because this album is great. As a musician myself, I’ve noticed that the closer I listen, the more interesting things I notice about the songs. This is rare for me, especially when the songs are catchy and grooving as well. I think any fan of Blues and Americana should give this album a listen.


Reviewed by Noah Rozzell

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