Robbie Robertson

How To Become Clairvoyant

BY Jason SchneiderPublished Apr 5, 2011

Although he is one of rock'n'roll's most revered songwriters, Robbie Robertson's efforts have rarely revealed much about himself. From his work with the Band to his most recent forays into mixing Native American music with techno, Robertson has been more interested in exploring history from unexpected angles. On How To Be Clairvoyant, his first "standard" collection of songs since 1991's Storyville, Robertson finally shifts his focus to his history, one that rock critics have been mythologizing for almost four decades. One can't blame Robertson for wanting to set the record straight, and he has taken a few tips from Neil Young in that regard, crafting an album that takes an unflinchingly honest view of the past. On songs such as "When The Night Was Young," "The Right Mistake" and "This Is Where I Get Off," Robertson revels in making himself the star of his personal movie, to great effect. The album's warm production, reminiscent of the Band's final triumph, Northern Lights, Southern Cross, is equally satisfying, accentuated by a great group of guest players, including Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Robert Randolph. For once, Robertson doesn't let an ambitious concept get the better of him, allowing his true voice to shine through.

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