David Crosby delivers four musical gems

David CrosbyThe last four albums released by David Crosby have been real gems. What impresses most about these albums are the gorgeous arrangements and the sensitive songwriting. No mass market banality here. Crosby has always shined when working with other writers, as he did famously with Crosby, Stills & Nash (and then with the addition of Neil Young). These moody works sound perfect for late night with the lights dim, or on a rainy afternoon (much like the moment I’m writing this post).

Sky Trails (2017) features several songs Crosby co-wrote with his son James Raymond, along with the lovely title track co-written with Becca Stevens. Some of the tracks have a Steely Dan flair: Raymond’s “She’s Gotta Be Somewhere” and the co-written “Capitol” (an indictment of power politics). My favorite track, “Sell Me a Diamond,” features shimmering piano chords, winsome steel guitar, and moving lyrics about the urge to transcend human conflict. Crosby also covers Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia”—a fitting tribute to his one-time lover that he handles beautifully.

Here If You Listen (2018) represents a collaborative effort with Crosby’s touring band, Lighthouse. “Glory,” a tender love song to his wife, arose from an improvised recording session. Band member Becca Stevens wrote the music for several of the tracks, with other members contributing lyrics. Crosby recaps Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” a gentler, more introspective retelling than the lively version made famous by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. “I Am No Artist” is a haunting song written by Stevens and Jane Tyson Clement.

Two additional albums—Croz (2014) with James Raymond, and Lighthouse (2016)—conclude this series of gems. I especially enjoyed Raymond’s unforgettable song “What’s Broken.” Mojo named Lighthouse one of the best 50 albums of 2016. All together, these four albums provide a delicious sonic treat, delivered with a huge helping of heart.

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