When the news broke last year that David Crosby was working on a new solo album it came as a surprise to most. It's been twenty years since his last release and to be honest his solo career has been fairly undistinguished apart from 1971's If I Could Only Remember My Name.
Crosby has been content to be in the background for decades, but for whatever reason he's decided that now the time is right to prove to himself and others that he can still do it - and with Croz he largely succeeds in this.
He's always been an idiosyncratic songwriter though - for example it's hard to imagine that many other people would casually drop the phrase "cognitive dissonance" into their lyrics, as he does in Time I Have - but in Crosby's hands this sounds perfectly natural.
Time I Have (a song about how he doesn't want to spend his remaining years dealing with fear and anger) is an early highlight of a consistent set of songs that chug along nicely in a largely mid-tempo mood. Production is sparse and uncluttered with bass, acoustic and lead guitar very much to the fore.
There are several big-names players who guest, Mark Knopfler adds guitar to What's Broken and Wynton Marsalis plays trumpet on Holding on to Nothing. But it's Crosby who dominates, with his much-admired harmonies wrapping the whole album in a 1970's West Coast AOR vibe.
Lyrically, various topics are touched upon - prostitution on If She Called and Crosby's own addictive past on Set That Baggage Down. But although the lyrics are sometimes dark, there's still an optimistic vibe to the music.
Crosby has joked that the album should sell about nineteen copies, since his profile is pretty low, particularly amongst younger music fans. But Croz is a strong album that should be enjoyed by most people who come across it and good word of mouth could make it a surprise hit.