Black Crowes’ cofounder Rich Robinson takes flight with Magpie Salute |

Black Crowes’ cofounder Rich Robinson takes flight with Magpie Salute

Magpie Salute, formed by Black Crowes founder and guitarist Rich Robinson, center, will open for Gov't Mule on Friday at Deer Valley. Magpie Salute is currently on tour to support its new album "High Water I." The follow-up album "High Water II" will be released in a few months.
Photo by David McLister

Gov’t Mule and Magpie Salute will perform at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, at Deer Valley. Tickets range from $38 to $70. They can be purchased by visiting

Guitarist Rich Robinson is ready for some positive vibes.

The Black Crowes founder and guitarist said he is able to find positivity with his new band Magpie Salute, which is set to open for Gov’t Mule that will perform on Aug. 31 at Deer Valley.

“Most of the guys in the band have been down the road with this negative element, and we’re vigilant about staying out that,” Robinson said. “We want to focus on the gift of being able to play music.”

The band’s members include Robinson’s former Black Crowes bandmates — guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien — as well as keyboardist Matt Slocum and drummer Joe Magistro.

“(We formed) in a very organic way,” Robinson said. “This was just more of a having-fun, getting-together-and-playing band.”

On Aug. 10, Magpie Salute released its new album, “High Water I,” and is planning to release its follow-up, “High Water II,” in a few months.

“For selfish reasons, I wanted to put out a double album,” Robinson said with a laugh. “I wanted to make the album so we could get out and play 30 songs.”

The idea to divide the album into a two-parter came while the band was in the studio.

“While you’re writing and recording, it becomes apparent which songs need to be weeded out,” Robinson said. “I had a ton of stuff. Marc did, too, and so did John. So we decided to get together and put everything together to see how it would work out.”

The songs, Robinson said, dictated which would work for the “High Water I” and which would work for “High Water II.”

“When it’s a song that we feel doesn’t work, we won’t even finish it,” Robinson explained. “We’ll save it for later or use it for something else. And when we do finish a song, we will alway try it out.”

The song “Walk on Water” was one that the band worked on a couple of times before they decided to use it for “High Water I.”

“It had a whole different feel, and we felt like we should shift it a little bit,” Robinson said. “By the end, it turned out with a totally different vibe, even though it was the same song.”

Likewise, there are songs on the second record that Robinson knew needed a rewritten verse or two so they would flow better.

“‘High Water II’ is already recorded,” he said. “We will start mixing in September or October.”

Playing guitar, writing songs and recording albums is something Robinson has done for more than half his life.

Robinson was 19 when he formed the Black Crowes with his older brother Chris, but he had written the band’s chart-topping single, “She Talks With Angels,” when he was 15.

“I’ve always been of the belief that the records I have made are the best we could do at the time we did them,” he said. “I always want my records to be good. I want to push myself to address things and readdress things musically or lyrically.”