David Crosby: A Time for Decades of American Folk Music

David Crosby is one of those rare gems of a musician: he’s survived decades of the American music scene and he’s still writing and performing. He was even nominated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once as a member of The Byrds and a second time as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. He performed at Woodstock with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and throughout his group appearances has also nourished a solo career.

Crosby’s next solo album will be released October 21. Titled Lighthouse, he has already released its first song, called “Things We Do for Love.” It’s a light, tender love song he wrote for his wife, Jan. Rolling Stone describes it as “Crosby’s ever-delicate voice gliding over a soft acoustic progression, then swelling into a stunning wall of harmony.” The music magazine says this is Crosby’s second solo album in two years but fifth overall. (He released his first one, If I Could Only Remember My Name, in 1971.)

Michael League, of the New York-based instrumental ensemble Snarky Puppy, is producing the album. League also helped co-write it. According to a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, David Crosby said that recording the album took only about two weeks, back in February of this year. Some of the songwriting with League also happened fast: three of the nine songs were written in three days.

Crosby seems to enjoy working with other artists. He released Croz, another solo album, in 2014. In addition to Crosby’s band, the album featured guest players including Wynton Marsalis (“Holding On To Nothing”), Mark Knopfler (“What’s Broken”), Leland Sklar (“Find A Heart”), and Steve Tavaglione (“Morning Falling,” “Find A Heart”). Croz entered the Billboard Charts in five different categories: Top 200 Chart – #36, Top Independent Album Chart – #6, Top Folk Album Chart – #2, Top Internet Sales Chart – #7, and Top Digital Album Sales Chart – #72.

Even his first solo album was a group effort, and he recounted in the WSJ how he completed it. He was not in a good place at that time, he said, because his girlfriend had just died in a car crash. To help him finish, many of his friends dropped by the studio. Among them were Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Grace Slick and Paul Kanter from Jefferson Airplane, members from Santana and Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Gram Parsons and Joni Mitchell. “They gathered around and helped me make that record in the most organic and loving way. It pretty much saved my sanity. I had something to do and somebody to do it with. It was a lifting force in a pretty tough spot,” he said in the article.

It seems like almost the entire history of American folk music is wrapped up in this one man. David Crosby will be here next month, on September 2. Don’t miss this chance to listen to Crosby on guitar, his son James Raymond on piano, and decades of music in the air.