The Magpie Salute, a band featuring musicians of Black Crowes fame, is scheduled to perform a set of original music, Crowes tunes, covers and more Saturday evening at the Harris Center in Folsom.
With alumni Rich Robinson and Marc Ford on guitars and Sven Pipien on bass, the Magpie salute is half comprised of former Black Crowes members. Robinson formed the band in 2016, culling keyboardist Matt Slocum and drummer Joe Magistro from his solo band, while singer John Hogg hails from Robinson’s now-defunct Hookah Brown.
“We’re all very aware of this position we’re in,” Hogg said on the band’s website. “Rich and Marc have this intense and long history together in quite a public way. At the same time, you’ve got Sven who’s been in the band forever, and Joe has been with Rich for 15 years. I have this history with Rich. I won’t lie; it’s all quite unusual. I’m working with the greatest musicians I’ve ever worked with. The dynamic is powerful and positive. There’s been a number of long journeys that suddenly all coalesce.”
In an interview with the Bee, Robinson said the band wasn’t originally intended to live this long. He formed the group specifically for a three-day live recording concert including Eddie Harsch, former keyboardist of the Black Crowes.
“We were just looking at it more from like a standpoint of ‘This would be cool to play and it’ll be fun’ and you know, that was it,” Robinson said. “But when everyone got in the room, we all realized that something special is there when we all play together.”
Robinson said the first four shows they booked sold out almost immediately, which prompted the band to start touring and recording music, starting with covers and old Black Crowes songs.
As for its name — the Magpie Salute — Robinson said it’s partially a nod to their time with the Black Crowes, with an emphasis on their 2009 song “Good Morning Captain.” Robinson said superstitious Britons are supposed to utter those same words to magpies to ward off bad luck.
“I thought it was kind of silly to pretend that the majority of us hadn’t come from this context, which is the Black Crowes,” Robinson said, adding that Magistro had toured with the band in the past as well. “To try to ignore that it existed, or that we didn’t come from that, I thought was a little silly.”
While acknowledging their history, Robinson said he’s never wanted to try to tailor the sound of the Magpie Salute to expectations or to conform to the dominant popular genre. Instead, he said, he’s let the band develop organically on its own.
“Because we are this new band, and we have this new record that’s out and another one that’s coming out, we’re very excited to step into that role,” Robinson said. “But on top of that, we love to play music.”
The Magpie Salute’s set list is different every night, Robinson said. “It keeps it fresh for us. And its not something that we’re just going through the motions for,” he said.
Since its inception, the band has recorded two albums, with a third, “High Water II,” slated to be released summer 2019. Robinson said the Magpie Salute is continuing to write and record new music as well.
The Magpie Salute, coming off a Japan tour, begins a winter tour in the states in Berkeley on Friday, immediately followed by its Folsom show, and then will cross the country to finish out in a sold-out Florida cruise in mid-February.
The Stone Foxes, a San Francisco-based rock band, will also be performing with The Magpie Salute at the Harris Center on Saturday.
If you go
Where: The Harris Center at 10 College Pkwy, Folsom
When: Saturday, Jan. 12. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $30 to $50; www.harriscenter.net