Black Crowes Begin Work On New Album, Name Bassist

Southern-fried rockers the Black Crowes have taken nest in an Atlanta studio to work on pre-production for their new album, the follow-up to 1996's "Three Snakes and One Charm."

According to the band's publicist, the Crowes are finishing up a two week stint in their Olympic hometown and will then move to New York City to complete pre-production and choose a studio in which to record the album, expected to be out by the end of the year.

The Crowes have also finally named the replacement for departed bassist Johnny Colt. The new mystery Crowe played on the band's fanclub-only Christmas single last year (a cover of the Beatles' "Do You Want to Know a Secret"), but was not credited as the new bassist. A source close to the band now confirms that the newest Crowe to take roost is Sven Pipien, formerly of Atlanta-based Mary My Hope.

The Crowes, however, have yet to tap a guitarist to replace Marc Ford, who left the band shortly after the completion of last summer's Furthur

Festival. The band's management company confirms that the Crowes are undecided about a new lead guitarist, and that Rich Robinson would probably handle both rhythm and lead duties on the new album.

While the Crowes have yet to settle on a studio or a new guitarist, they have decided on a producer. Manning the boards for the new album will be Kevin Shirley, who worked on Silverchair's "Frogstomp" and Aerosmith's "Nine Lives."