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Sometimes, in the middle of a movie I'm enjoying, I’ll get a brain kick that tells me it’s really a winner. As I write this, I’m listening to ex-Band/Hall of Fame lead guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson's new solo album, and that brain kick hits me.

Robertson, who penned all the new songs (with help from Eric Clapton on a few), evokes memories of his oldies "The Weight" and "Up on Cripple Creek," with catchy lyrics, clean studio arrangements, and tasteful guitar work.

Clairvoyant opens with its strongest song, "Straight Down The Line," a bluesy foot-tapper about being an elder rock star: "Son I've Seen it all, and it's not what you think/ the demons are out tonight." He follows that with "When the Night Was Young," a soft-rock plaintive with a strong melodic hook and lyric: "We had dreams when the night was young/ we were believers when the night was young/ we could change the world." Robertson includes a revealing song about leaving the Band and going solo years ago, aptly titled "This Is Where I Get Off."

Robertson’s voice is no longer young, but no less pleasing, and a little help from his friends — Clapton, Steve Winwood, Trent Reznor — is a fine bonus.

  • Album: How to Become Clairvoyant (2011)
  • Artist: Robbie Robertson
  • Label: 429 Records
  • Songs: (1) Straight Down the Line (2) When the Night was Young (3) He Don't Live Here No More (4) The Right Mistake (5) This Is Where I Get Off (6) Fear of Falling (7) She's Not Mine (8) Madame X (9) Axman (10) Won't Be Back (11) How to Become Clairvoyant (12) Tango for Django
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