Robbie Robertson, "How to Become Clairvoyant"
It's been 13 years since Robbie Robertson's last solo album, an unacceptable interim for someone whose output has been consistently stellar, both during his days with the Band and since "The Last Waltz." But his newest album, "How to Become Clairvoyant," was worth the wait. The set is an enveloping mix of melody, mood and texture that speaks to Robertson's triple-threat virtues as a performer, composer and producer. Eric Clapton lent a major hand: "How to Become Clairvoyant" began as a joint project between the two musicians, and even under Robertson's name alone it bears the Slowhand stamp on seven of 12 songs, including two they co-wrote and one duet ("Fear of Falling"). Robertson also gets help from Steve Winwood, Robert Randolph, Tom Morello and Trent Reznor. But it's the songs-from the rootsy soulfulness of "Straight Down the Line," "When the Night Was Young" and "Won't Be Back" to the grit of "He Don't Live Here No More" and "Axman" -that are the stars here. Now let's hope it doesn't take another 13 years for Robertson's next release.