(429/Bella Coola Records)
How To Become a Clairvoyant not only marks Robbie Robertson's first solo outing in over a decade, but also his best work since his eponymous solo debut some 24 years before. Its impressive list of guest musicians notwithstanding (Eric Clapton, whose imprint is embossed on several tracks, Steve Winwood, Trent Reznor, Tom Morello, Robert Randolph, etc.), it ranks as Robertson's most personal and prophetic effort to date, with several songs given to rumination and reflection.
The quiet, contemplative "This Is Where I Get Off" offers a commentary on parting ways with the Band. "When the Night Was Young" looks back on the innocence and idealism of youth, viewed from life's rearview mirror. The sound is smoky and cerebral, Robertson's sandpapery vocals enhancing the evocative effect. The interplay between Robertson and Clapton will have guitar nerds taking notice, while those still bemoaning the Band's demise will find consolation in the gentle stride of "Madame X" and "Won't Be Back," either of which might have benefited from Richard Manuel's mournful croon. Regardless, here, Robertson's rebirth is affirmed.
DOWNLOAD: "When the Night Was Young," "Madame X" LEE ZIMMERMAN