Album Review: The Magpie Salute’s ‘HIGH WATER II’

The Magpie Salute

By Erik De’Viking, Rock At Night London

ALBUM REVIEW: THE MAGPIE SALUTE – HIGH WATER II – Release date October 18, 2019 through Provogue/Eagle Rock

Magpie Salute. Photo by Chyrisse Tabone.

The Magpie Salute return with their eagerly awaited album High Water II, the follow-up to the successful High Water I, which was released last year. Made up of former Black Crowes members Rich Robinson (guitars), Marc Ford (guitars), and Sven Pipien (bass), The Magpie Salute were completed by the addition of John Hogg on vocals, Matt Slocum on keys, and Joe Magistro on drums. Ignoring the obvious comparisons to the Black Crowes, The Magpie Salute feel like a natural progression rather than an analogue to Rich Robinson’s former band. Featuring a mix of Americana and southern blues, there’s an organic feel to the album which picks up where High Water I left off. When you consider that many of the songs that feature on High Water II were recorded in the band’s early sessions together, it should really not come as any surprise. Discussing the albums, Robinson explains, “Both records are part of a collective journey. I chose the sequence specifically for each record. I wanted High Water I to introduce us to the world and the world to us. With High Water II, I wanted to go a little deeper. To take people to places they may not have expected to go.” 

“The Magpie Salute have created a rich sonic landscape that carries the listener along through the old dirt roads of America like an audio Route 66.” 

It certainly succeeds. Reminiscent of the collaboration between Bob Dylan and The Band, which produced The Basement Tapes, The Magpie Salute have created a rich sonic landscape that carries the listener along through the old dirt roads of America like an audio Route 66.  The feeling this creates is only further emphasised by the lyrics, which strike a chord with the listener through their expression of the human experience. Robinson suggests that, “We as humans, will always wrestle with universal themes. I think there’s light and dark around us at all times. I think they’re both necessary to see the contrast that helps us see the peaks and valleys of life.” 

Rich Robinson and Matt Slocum-The Magpie Salute. Photo by Chyrisse Tabone.

Opening with the raucous ‘Sooner or Later’ with its chaotic energy, it stretches out into a groove laden, smoky, psychedelic blues number, which Hogg explains, “is a true recording of us all playing together live as a band in the studio. The song is like a description of rushing through life at hyper-speed.” As the album expands, we are treated to some real gems in the form of the funky ‘Gimme Something’ which has a touch of The Rolling Stones and classic Motown about it, the ‘Jean Genie’/’Subterranean Homesick Blues’ inspired ‘Turn It Around’ and the electrified Delta blues infused ‘Doesn’t Really Matter’. As the album comes to a close, you’re left to ponder the limitless possibilities that this band represents.  

Beautifully mixed and produced, ‘High Water II’ has an almost analogue sound to it, and will no doubt be stunning on the planned heavyweight vinyl. This album truly represents the best these talented musicians have to offer, and if you are fan of this type of music, it is an absolute must to add to your collection. It is proper food for the soul. 


  1. Sooner Or Later
  2. Gimme Something
  3. Leave It All Behind
  4. In Here
  5. You And I
  6. Mother Storm
  7. A Mirror
  8. Lost Boy
  9. Turn It Around
  10. Life Is A Landslide
  11. Doesn’t Really Matter
  12. Where Is The Place

The album will be released on the 18th of October via Provogue/Eagle Rock on Limited edition 180g 2LP Brown vinyl, 2LP 180g Black vinyl, CD and digital.  



Erik De'Viking

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