Three Snakes and One Charm
With 1994's Amorica, the raw R&B that fueled the rock 'n' roll dreams of The Black Crowes' first batch of albums began to give way to outside influences including psychedelia, gospel, and funk. 1996's Three Snakes and One Charm follows that schematic with another batch of tunes that breeze beyond the bar-band rattle of the Crowes' early work. "Blackberry" cracks out of the box with a classic rock fervor, but "Girl from a Pawnshop" turns into a full-band workout after starting as a gentle acoustic ballad. In the 21st century, The Black Crowes have connected with the jam-band circuit, which thrives on natural sounds; you can hear the roots of that here. With the gospel-like sing-along choruses, the exploratory guitar work from Rich Robinson, and the outlandish keyboard trills, this album is a blueprint for the Crowes' wilder, improvisatory live show. The early-'70s husk of "(Only) Halfway to Everywhere" and the Led Zeppelin–gone–Dixie of "Bring On, Bring On" are signs of a band freeing itself from the constraints of commerce.