For as much as The Magpie Salute represents a musical union of swaggering rock ‘n' roll, psychedelic blues, and campfire-worthy storytelling, it also marks a reunion of musicians whose paths twisted and turned right back to each other. Pulled together by guitarist Rich Robinson, it continued a storyline he began in the Black Crowes with guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien. Meanwhile, vocalist John Hogg shared Hookah Brown with Robinson as keyboardist Matt Slocum and drummer Joe Magistro both joined him for solo records and tours over the years.
Now, these six individuals conjure magic on their full-length debut of original material, High Water I. The Magpie Salute launch the record with "Send Me An Omen." The twang of a hummable riff roars under Hogg's towering delivery before spiraling into an entrancing melody punctuated by gang harmonies and butter smooth solos. "Mary The Gypsy" charges ahead on bombastic drums and thick guitars that give way to an anti-establishment chant. A rustle of acoustic strumming opens the floodgates on "High Water" as the vocal vulnerability underscores unrest teeming just beneath the surface.
The group then really spreads its wings on the sweeping "Sister Moon." Elsewhere, the plaintive and poignant "Colorblind" details Hogg's perspective on growing up of mixed African and Swedish descent. The slow burn of drums and string plucks swings towards a dramatic close on the sparse, yet soulful "Open Up."