David Crosby Bio
When Crosby released Croz in 2014, it had been two decades since his last solo album. But now, only two years after that robust, full-band effort, the 74-year old returns with Lighthouse, an intimate, stripped-down set that highlights Crosby’s instantly recognizable voice, incisive songwriting, and incomparable guitar work.
Just don’t ask the legendary musician to explain what brought on the renewed verve. “I’m baffled because most people my age have given up, petered out or they’re just trying to get another hit,” he says, “but the muse has been stopping by my house pretty often. I don’t understand it, but I’m extremely grateful.”
Following a collaboration with Snarky Puppy on Family Dinner - Volume 2, Croz and Snarky bassist/founder Michael League teamed up to write together. As a result, Lighthouse features a rare economy of sound, filled primarily by Crosby’s voice and guitars, and League’s skillful production. There’s a sparse, unvarnished quality to the tracks that allows the songs breathing room and for the full emotional weight of the lyrics to emerge, unencumbered by extraneous instrumentation.
The album will be released on GroundUP on October 21, 2016.
October 21, 2016
“To create brand new music that I’m excited about is a pearl beyond price,” says the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
Lighthouse features a rare economy of sound, filled primarily by Crosby’s voice and guitars, and Michael League of Snarky Puppy’s skillful production. There’s a sparse, unvarnished quality to the tracks that allows the songs breathing room and for the full emotional weight of the lyrics to emerge, unencumbered by extraneous instrumentation.
On album opener, “Things We Do For Love,” written for his wife of nearly 40-years Jan, Crosby’s vocals reflect a poetic tenderness. On “Paint You A Picture,” a cinematic tale of romantic regret co-written with Marc Cohn (“Walking In Memphis”), they are filled with remorseful resignation. The longtime social activist lands his political punches as he bitingly condemns the craven politicians who send other people’s children to war on “Somebody Other Than You,” and compassionately reminds us that we are all the same on “Look In Their Eyes,” a poignant tale about immigration inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis.
Particularly striking on Lighthouse is Crosby’s piquant guitar playing, which is as inventive as always, but never flashy. By turns gentle and caustic, his work here surprised even him as he discovered new tones. “I put a guitar in a strange tuning and I see what I find,” he says. “It gives you different inversions of the chords and it gives you different sounds. I have many tunings. It helps me find things that are fresh and that are mine rather than just repeating stuff that other people have done.”
“Among folk rock songwriters, David is a real outlier,” League says. “He brought an element of color and exploration and risk to the writing process in his lyrics, in the guitar parts, in the vocal harmonies. He isn’t afraid to put notes in the chords you normally wouldn’t hear.”
Crosby and League recorded the album at Groove Masters, the Santa Monica studio owned by Crosby’s longtime pal Jackson Browne. League co-wrote half the songs on Lighthouse, with Crosby. In one of their rare disagreements, Crosby asked League to put aside a month for recording, though League insisted they only needed two weeks. “I said, I’ve never done a record in two weeks, I’m an old guy and you’re a young fireball. You have to slow down a little bit and give me a whole month,” Crosby recalls. “We recorded the record in 12 days,” he adds with a hearty laugh.
In Crosby’s unparalleled six-decade career, the native Californian has created songs that resonate as indelible cultural touchstones for more than three generations, not only as a solo artist, but as a founding member of The Byrds in the mid-60s, Crosby, Stills & Nash (recipients of the Grammy for best new artist in 1969), and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He’s collaborated with dozens of artists, including Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Phil Collins, Elton John and Carole King. The folk rock pioneer, who was inducted into the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009, has also served as our social conscience, not only eloquently writing about societal issues on such songs as “Almost Cut My Hair” and “Wooden Ships,” but continuously donating concert proceeds to likeminded causes.
Crosby will head out on a summer North American tour, and will be accompanied on those dates by his son James Raymond on piano. A fall tour is in the works.