This is one of those albums that are so unique and so special, that you know it won't get the acclaim it deserves. In the best case scenario, people would discover it 30 years from now, like we discover forgotten albums from the 60's and the 70's.
And it can't be any other way.
This is not an album for the masses. Its not cheerful, its not comforting, and its not romantic. This is not "popular" music, but personal music at its best. Its Chris's personal mix of styles and inspirations, his personal lyrics and songs, and for those of us who fell in its magic, its our personal soundtrack. When someone asks me what is the sort of music that I love the most, I put This Magnificent Distance in the stereo.
From the crunching riffs of Forty Days, you know that you go on a journey, a personal journey through the music styles that defined Chris Robinson as an artist, as well as defined my taste of music. Then, the haunting magic of Girl On The Mountain, followed by the organic sound of Mother Of Stone, with its beautiful touch of percussions. Train Robbers offers a nostalgic look at one of the most romantic scenes of the "old times" - the train robbers (the original title of the song was "the last of the old time train robbers"), but the music is an evidence that the "old time", free-form rock is still alive. For many reasons, Chris Robinson IS the last of the old time train robbers: he is the last of the old-time musicians, sings from his soul and making real, uncompromisig and somewhat unpopular music. The song ends with a teriffic solo from Paul Stacey. The next song. Like A Tumbleweed In Eden, is a Dylanesque ballad. You can really feel Dylan's influence on this slow and haunting number. The next song, When The Cold Wind Blows At The Dark End Of Night, is the song that captures the feeling of a hollucionary drug in the best and most honest way. With its changing speeds, the painfully disharmonic bridge and its haunting lyrics. "You're coming down, you're never the same".
...If You See California offers a nice relaxation from Cold Wind Blows, and its a much needed rest. This is a beautiful number, simple and optimistic. It is clearly influenced and currespond with Dylan's Girl From The North Country, a song that Chris has covered many times with the Black Crowes. The Never Empty Table is a mid-tempo return to the 60's sound as well as state of mind, as Chris offers us all a place on his table. By opening your mind to this album, you accept the offer. Eagles On The Highway is the music of America: Its display of obvious Americana icons in the lyrics (Eagles, Highway) as well as musical fusion of Rock with touches of country, blues and soul. Surgical Glove is a small epic. Its got a riff that puts you in another place and another time. Sea Of Love is a dark hard rocker, perhaps the least accessible song on this album, but its got its dark magic, waiting to be discovered. The albums closes with the bluesy Piece Of Wind, with a great, long harmonica solo at the end.
This album is differt from the Black Crowes popular cuts, and can only be described as the next musical stage after 3 Snakes And One Charm (with songs like One Mirror Too Many, Bring On Bring On and How Much For Your Wings in mind). This album is certainly not for everyone, and will never appeal for the masses. But this is what makes it so good.