David Crosby: Sky Trails
In the past three years, David Crosby has doubled his solo album discography. After releasing one per decade in the ‘70s (the sublime If I Could Only Remember My Name), ‘80s and ‘90s, he’s now put out three more since 2014: Croz, a full-band effort; Lighthouse, a stripped-down, largely acoustic set steered by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League; and now Sky Trails, which falls somewhere between the two with a tilt toward jazzier structures. His sudden prolificacy aside, what is immediately striking about all three is the undeniable quality of the work. For a guy who came so close so many times to blowing it all, Crosby is arguably in a better place creatively than he’s been in more than four decades—his compositional skills and vocal performances betraying nary a hint of deterioration. Croz is well aware that he does, at 75, have some limitations and he’s perfectly fine with delegation. Here, as he’s done often in the past two decades, Crosby’s working tightly with his son, producer James Raymond, who plays keyboards and co-wrote four of the new tunes. (There’s only one cover, Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia.”) Among the new songs, “Capitol,” which takes aim at the pathetic current political climate, “Curved Air,” riding atop a modified flamenco rhythm and the harmony-rich “Sell Me a Diamond” (which, in a previous lifetime, might’ve made a classic CSN tune), are highlights. But so is “Before Tomorrow Falls on Love,” a breathtakingly graceful ballad that takes it almost entirely down to voice and piano. As hard as it would’ve been to imagine at one time, David Crosby is not merely a survivor; he’s making some of the best music of his life.