How David Crosby is still alive and looking forward to his 80th birthday on August 18th, never mind being in an incredibly fertile vein of form, is a wonder of the 21st century world? The world is full of wonders that on a daily basis we walk past and take for granted. Let us not do it with For Free.
For Free is Stills, Nash and Young’s former buddy’s 5th record in 7 years. The last one Here If You Listen was like a vocal work with Michael League, Becca Stevens and Michelle Willis.
Sky Trails before leaned heavily on his love of jazz.
Its predecessor Lighthouse was gentle song writing. For Free harks back to the first of the five Croz. For Free uses all the angles of these last seven years and nails it better than any of the first four. It seems more rounded, solid and thus satisfying.
It all comes, as so often with Crosby, with a little help from his friends. Michael McDonald fills in for the aforementioned harmonisers Stills and Nash on the opening River Rise.
Sarah Jarosz adds stunning vocals to the time track. That track, For Free, is a Joni Mitchell cover, adding to Amelia and Woodstock on his last two records and gets to the true meaning, nature and purpose of music making.
Maybe the best track sounds like, but isn’t, another cover. If She’s Got To Be Somewhere from Sky Trails sounded like Steely Dan then Rodriguez In The Night is an actual co-write with Donald Fagan. A whole album of such a collaboration would have great potential!
Crosby’s son James Raymond might be the main cause of all of his long lost dad's resurgence. He is all over this as producer, co writer and player. His own daughter Gracie even sings. Does she call Croz Grandpa?
Into all of this Crosby sings about life and mortality. His own mortality is there in the beautiful closing I Won’t Stay Long whereas Shot At Me is a cafe conversation with a veteran who served in the Middle East. He’s doing Crosbian deals with the devil in the fictional story line of Rodriguez In The Night. The utter beauty of The Other Side of Midnight takes me on some boat journey with sailor boy Crosby.
I Think I might be a man with a very colourful life story finding his way or maybe coming to terms with all the times he got lost.
For Free shimmers with vibrancy and positivity. The guitars light it up, the harmonies allow it to soar and hanging all over that are these songs of a world weary human making sense of the life of his generation, most of which he lived in his own broken, messed up, often dark but contradictorily light seeking life of an artistic adventurer.
David Crosby is a wonder and For Free is wonderful!