|image by Eleanor Stills|
Strong, clear, and incredibly dynamic, David Crosby‘s voice permeated the electrically-charged atmosphere of Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, bringing the sold-out crowd to its feet time and again during the triumphant May 16 performance by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Graham Nash was equally as powerful in his own right, and Stephen Stills reclaimed a level of vocal strength not heard in years, but it was Crosby who astounded the most. Like the young Byrd who flew into uncharted musical territory in the 1960s, Crosby’s voice soared effortlessly to stratospheric heights, melodiously swooping down, around, and through the voices of his two partners, creating transcendent harmonies that left me open-mouthed in awe from start to finish. Judging from the reviews of CSN’s recently-completed U.S. tour, the group has reached deep into itself and found new reserves of energy and stamina, delighting audiences from coast to coast. Speaking with David backstage after the May 16 show, it was immediately apparently just how stoked he was with the performance, citing the audience’s overwhelmingly positive response as the catalyst that brought out the very best in the band. Including—as always—new material with the classics, Crosby’s solo spot provided a tantalizing hint of what is to come when he brings his summer solo tour to Town Hall in New York City on June 25.
A lengthy phone conversation with Crosby conducted on May 30, one week prior to the tour’s launch on June 6 at the Kerrville Folk Festival, provided an opportunity to revisit some familiar territory and explore uncharted terrain with a musical legend.
|CSN, May 16, 2015, Kings Theatre|
image by Roy Abrams
|image by Buzz Person|
RA: I’d like to talk about the two new songs you unveiled during the tour: “What Makes It So” and “Somebody Home” … What was the genesis of each of those pieces?
|image by Buzz Person|
|Byrds-era David Crosby|
DC: Well, Chris and I are close friends. We like each other. Our politics are on opposite ends of the spectrum but I really respect him, and I think he’s a dedicated musician and a really good one. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard him and Herb Pedersen together? It’s stellar. If I had to pick who I like in country music, it would start with Alison Krauss and Union Station, and the very next one would be Chris and Herb. It’s that good!
DC: Try to see them live. They’re just amazing! Frankly, I would love to work with Chris. I would love to work with Roger (McGuinn). Roger’s very happy doing what he’s doing, a folkie. I get that, I understand that, I respect that. You can’t legislate somebody into playing a particular kind of music. Roger and I have come to a sort of agreed upon friendship and truce about it; I don’t bother him about it. I know that he knows I would love to do it, and if he ever wants to do it, all he’s got to do is say so. But I respect him, man. The guy’s a terrific talent. He and Chris .. I understand that they’re different than me and that they’re doing what they need to do, and I kind of like of them. Gene … I miss Gene. He didn’t know the rules. He grew up completely outside of Hollywood and the music business and all that crap, and he was as talented as he was because he didn’t know. He heard The Beatles and said, “Oh, I can do that!” He did!
|At Abbey Road Studios with The Beatles|
RA: It’s been more than 50 years since your creative journey began. The creative fire has been burning brighter and hotter—
© Roy Abrams 2015