The Black Crowes, the rock band famous for radio hits such as "She Talks to Angels," broke up in 2015 after conflict among bandmates and between brothers Chris and Rich Robinson over money and personality clashes.
But the brothers have continued on with their own projects: Chris with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Rich with his new endeavor, The Magpie Salute.
"We had a tremendous amount of success when I was really young," Rich Robinson says of his career with The Black Crowes. "I was just 19 when we made the first record and we had a ton of success, but none of us knew how to deal with it in a healthy way."
With The Magpie Salute, Robinson wanted to make sure that the negative energy haunting his now nonexistent relationship with his brother didn't follow him into the new project.
"Learning from the mistakes of The Black Crowes has really brought us to a much better place," says Robinson, who has teamed up with former Black Crowes bandmates Marc Ford and Sven Pipen, along with Matt Slocum, Joe Magistro and British blues vocalist John Hogg.
"There’s a different sort of dynamic in this band. There are new people who were never part of that past scenario and then the people who understand parts of that and are now vigilant in not going down a negative path."
With The Magpie Salute, Robinson isn't trying to emulate or pay tribute to the Crowes, though he did keep a bird-centric moniker. Instead, he's just creating music that he loves.
It's familiar yet brand new, particularly with the additions of Hogg's vocals and Magistro's drumming, two sounds that allow The Magpie Salute a chance to stand apart from the unwavering sonic stance of the Crowes.
On the debut disc "High Water I," some tracks sound like a reminiscent soundtrack of the Crowes and others that show an impactful difference, like standout ballad "For the Wind," with its soft, melodic acoustic guitar that serves as the perfect introduction to Hogg's Led Zeppelin-like first verse before transforming into vivacious '70s-era rock 'n' roll.
"I don’t care about categories or genres," Robinson says. "When you try to sound like something, or not sound like something, it’s disingenuous. I do what I’ve always done: I write music that sounds good to me."
Robinson didn’t have a master plan for the new record. The songs weren't fully fleshed out when the band joined up at the studio Dark Horse in Nashville.
They had 21 days to record 21 songs, and most of the individual instrumental tracks were crafted in the moment with just a first-draft semblance of structure.
"I don’t believe in overthinking parts and obsessing over things," Robinson says. "I believe in how things feel and how they sound and gut reactions."
The second half of that studio session will be released as "High Water II" later on.
Now, far past his first run-in with success, Robinson is trying to keep a good head on his shoulders as he tours.
"When you go on tour for a long time, you ultimately get tired and get bitchy and sit in the back of bus and start ragging on everything," Robinson says. "It becomes a cesspool. People stop talking, everybody takes everything personally — that's the nature of being on tour. Now, we're being vigilant of talking about things and being mature about things."
To make touring easier, he takes his family — his wife and his four kids, ages 2 weeks to 8 years old.
"It's been cool to show them the world," Robinson says.
The Magpie Salute is opening for Robinson's longtime friends in Gov't Mule on Aug. 18 at Volvo Car Stadium on Daniel Island.
"Gov’t Mule’s first shows were opening for The Black Crowes," says Robinson. Things have come full circle.