TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the October 2021 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
The two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is experiencing an unprecedented surge not only in prolificacy, but in creativity. David Crosby returns with his incredible solo album, For Free.
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 like-minded causes. His towering influence and brilliant ability to capture the spirit of our times in his music remains undiminished.
Croz says about the track "River Rise": "I have been pestering my son James for years to write us a hit. I think he finally did it with 'River Rise'. He had all but the second verse which our friend Michael McDonald came up with. Mike then did spectacular harmony vocals on it as well. I think these songs on the record prove that James has matured as writer and is at least as good as I am if not better."
Considering how many lives he's led and all the obstacles he's overcome, David Crosby must have been born in the Year of the Cat, right? Actually, Croz was born in the Year of the Snake (1941), which might serve to inform how he's instinctively slithered through any storm crossing his path. For Free, his seventh solo album, is further proof Crosby remains an artist unbowed. Though his deliberately soothing, contemplative vocal tone may be the literal definition of adult contemporary, there's nothing lax in the way Croz emotes every blessed syllable to intended effect (see the empathic narrative firing lines of 'Shot at Me'). The funky-tunk groove of 'Rodriguez for a Night,' ever-so-sleekly buttressed by Steve Tavaglione's tenor sax and Walt Fowler's flugelhorn and trumpet lines, comports itself like a long-lost Steely Dan track - no surprise, really, given Donald Fagen's co-writing credit ' while the vocal blends on the skyward-looking 'The Other Side of Midnight' and cascading harmonizing with Michael McDonald all throughout 'River Rise' are the very embodiment of sonic bliss. For Free is worth every damn penny you'll pony up for the privilege of hearing Crosby carry the torch for creative perseverance.
The nimble beats and warm surfaces give For Free an appealing buoyancy while also putting the quiet coda of 'Shot at Me' and 'I Won't Stay for Long' in sharp relief. Here, Crosby hints at his folkier origins without dispensing with the musical elasticity that characterized the rest of For Free, an expansion that serves as a gentle reminder that Crosby is in the midst of the longest sustained burst of creativity in his entire career.
- Vinyl LP
- Explicit Content
- Made in Canada
- River Rise (feat. Michael McDonald)
- I Think I
- The Other Side Of Midnight
- Rodriguez For A Night
- Secret Dancer
- Ships In The Night
- For Free (feat. Sarah Jarosz)
- Shot At Me
- I Won't Stay For Long