on 16 May 2014
I held back on reviewing this to give it the test of time. Not that it disappointed from the outset, far from it, but felt I could add little to the glowing reviews already posted, and thought I would give it the benefit of a few weeks getting to know it. And I now know it like the back of my hand 'cos it's hardly been out of the CD tray in all that time as it really is that good. Crosby always had his own unique style and genre ('jazz-folk-rock'?) and this album is smoother and jazzier than any of his previous albums, but it suites him well and is all the better for it. Unmistakenly Croz, but he hasn't tried to re-make past glories but make an album that sounds of his age whilst being bang up to date.....and he's succeeded on all levels as far as I'm concerned. An absolute gem.
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.
on 28 January 2014
Whereas Neil Young's psychedelic pill and Stephen Still's The Rides have been rather nostalgic efforts David Crosby keeps his freak flag high with "Croz". Although the style is much like CPR: elegant West Coast with a hint of Steely Dan the songs are fresh, the lyrics intelligent, his voice in finest shape.
Backed by the current CSN rhythm section Kevin McCormick om some elegant bass, Stevie D. on drums and son James Raymond - who also acts as co-producer and writer - on keyboards no one can argue against the musical quality. Add some discreet but prolific guest spots by the likes of Mark Knopfler and Wynton Marsalis and I think this is going to be an album that will stand the test of time and probably only be growing. Surely it will not be a grammy succes like McCartney's "New" but definitely another testament that age is not a hindrance for creativity.
A few of the songs have been road tested "Slice Of Time" and "Radio" with CN and CSN but all of the songs sounds mature with not a false note around.
Giving his often told background and history it's amazing Crosby is still alive - even more amazing he seems to be stronger than ever.
on 28 January 2014
Strange that - Arguably, Crosby's work with CPR turned out to be some of the most fruitful and beautiful music since "If Only".
Having been reunited with his long lost son (James Raymond) and been to hell and back more times than can be imagined, he seemed to find a completely new cause to his life and the two studio albums reflected that.
As for the new album "Croz", well, this is just beautiful from start to finish. Full of the strange tuning jazzy chords which are his trademark, its beauty reveals itself piece by piece to make a complete whole. Faultless production and in the final analysis, just a joy to listen to.
What a relief! The comeback of a musician I have always admired after 20 years, much of them spent in turmoil and rehab, could have been dreadful but I think this is a really good album. It's taken quite a few listens to settle in, but I'd expect that from David Crosby - you don't turn to his music for undemanding comfort food.
It's sobering to realise that it's nearly 45 years since I first heard Guinevere and Wooden Ships, because after all those years they are still among my favourite tracks ever. Those elements which made Crosby's music so brilliant and distinctive back then are still evident in many places on this quite varied album: the modal, broken guitar chords in untypical sequences, the meandering almost recitative-like interludes and the great, often beautiful, often thrillingly singable passages all feature strongly. It doesn't always work for me here (as it didn't always then), but for the great majority of this album it works really well.
There's quite an introspective air over the album. The feel of the tracks varies from the harmonically rich and fairly jazzy like the opener What's Broken and Set That Baggage Down through the quite beat-driven (like The Clearing) to the spare and quite amazing If She Called, a song about the emotional turmoil of a prostitute. The lyrics are diverse and generally very good, often reflecting on the vicissitudes of life and moving on from damage and pain. You know, too, that when he sings "I'm a troubled soul searching for peace in the night," in the lovely Dangerous Night, for example, it comes from deep experience and is a lot more than just another song lyric.
The songs are often set in quite CSN&Y-ish harmonies, which is just fine by me, because all those groups who have been compared to them over the last few years haven't really sounded like them, and it's great to hear that sound again - sounding fresh and alive, too. Guest appearances by Mark Knopfler and the great Wynton Marsalis are both excellent, and Crosby's own singing and guitar work are still very fine.
The album has its less good spots. For example, Time I Have is a fine track, but begins:
"People do so many things that make me mad,
But angry at how I want to spend the time I have;
Cognitive dissonance they call it
And I wonder just how small it
Could be made to be
It's really not David Crosby's finest lyrical hour, however important and heartfelt what he's trying to say. These moments are few and brief, though, and I think this album has real quality.
If Croz made this album to prove that he's still got it, then I think he has succeeded spectacularly. Old fans like me should be well satisfied - a genuine Prodigal Son has returned and I hope he'll stay to produce more like this. Warmly recommended.
(I can't eat all this fatted calf on my own, by the way. Would anyone care for a slice?)
on 28 January 2014
Cards on the table - I have always felt Crosby was the heart of CSNY. I've been wildly anticipating the release of this album since first reading that Crosby was working on it and I'm glad to write that's it's lived up to my expectations. Some of the songs hear have been road tested with CSN and CN, and they sound even better in the studio. The standard of writing throughout the album is high, with only one or two questionable lyrics, but he gets away with it. The harmonies are lovely as you would expect from Crosby.
The contribution his son James Raymond cannot be understated. His songwriting is really strong and his playing is exemplary.
The overall feel of the album is very similar to Crosby's work with CPR, although the songs are very reflective of Crosby's view of the world, politics etc.
A stand out track for me is "If She Calls", a song about a prostitute. The guitar tuning on the track is very reminiscent of Guinevere with a lyric which oozes sadness sung by Crosby on his own.
In summary, this is great album and one that I have also ordered on vinyl when it become available.
on 26 February 2014
A great album containing the threads of Crosby Still and Nash. David is more jazzy but together with his lost son James Raymond's prolific songwriting ability this album carries on where the last Crosby & Nash album, a double CD, left off. That album was the first time I discovered James Raymond's song writing ability particularily the first track on CD 1. Together with "Thousand Roads" and "Oh Yes I Can" "Croz" makes an awsome threesome. Mark Knopfler makes a guest appearance on the first track.
on 6 January 2015
I bet Joni Mitchell, listened to this with a deep, warm pleasure, thinking, maybe I ought to do some recordings. This is such a lovely album. Fine production and arrangements complement the songwriting beautifully. It is a soundscape full of appeal, which demonstrates just how great Croz is. The voice and the sharp, heartfelt observation are there in spades and there is not an iota of diminution in the quality of David Crosby's powers. In fact, I can't think of any other 60's music survivor who is producing work of this calibre. It may not seem to be the type of quality singer-songwriting to set the chart, i-tunes, youtube or spotify on fire, but, in essence, it really is, if people hadn't partly forgotten how to listen acutely or absorb music and song in less adrenalised, meditative ways. There are moments which are akin to a yearning Thom Yorke melody, there is harmony to die for and above all, there is a humanity and integrity which compels this listener to wholehearttedly recommend this with a refreshing 5 stars after the same number of listens over several weeks. Just buy it.
on 20 August 2014
Like a lot of people here who have posted a review. I was a little worried about what sound of album one of my all time musical heroes had come up with.
Well I really need not have worried. Time has not withered his musical powers that's for sure. Crosby has always been agreat collaborator but his solo canon is small. 'Croz' has definitely added to his musical legacy. A prominent but still understated presence is his son, James. It's clear that they have a great personal and musical relationship. I was worried as to how his voice would sound and hold up, and although it is not the wonderful instrument of yore. It has taken on a wonderful deeper, richer tone to his quality tenor.
Crosby has always had his jazz influences and loved quirky time signatures(Mind gardens, Tribal gathering, Deja vu etc). So don not despair they are here in several tracks. Faves for me; What's broken, The clearing, Radio, Set that baggage down and Dangerous night.
on 25 February 2014
Another great album David. Think he is brilliant to keep on writing and making music!! Been listening to it a lot and I think it's worthy to be in your CSN&Y collection!!