Talking to David Crosby About His Quiet Solo Resurgence

For years, David Crosby wasn’t concerned about his solo career. Sure, it was always on his mind, but with his schedule busy with various acronym-based supergroups, it’s easy to understand why time slipped away.

Yet, when he hasn’t been in the news for squabbling with Neil Young, Crosby has quietly had a solo resurgence. For the first time in many years, the songs were coming quickly. The result is one of the most prolific periods of his entire career.

“It’s certainly been fruitful!” the singer exclaims. “Not sure about prosperous, but certainly that. It’s been a really good time for songs. I think I’m doing some of the best work I’ve done at this stage in my life. It’s a complete joy.”

Crosby’s torrid songwriting pace has easily made this the most prosperous period of his solo career. Last year, the mustached singer released Lighthouse, a record he worked on with producer Michael League, who also happens to be the bandleader/bassist for Snarky Puppy. After hearing — and giving his seal of approval and guesting on a track— to Snarky Puppy, Crosby enlisted League to write and subsequently produce the record.

Lighthouse was released late last year, but Crosby already has its follow-up finished. Titled Sky Trails, the album was produced by his son James Raymond, who also handled production duties for 2014’s Croz.

Sky Trails is a full band record, with horns and stuff, and Lighthouse was all acoustic,” Crosby says. “Both producers are a joy to work with and I wrote most of each record with each producer.”

In the past year, Crosby has mastered the art form known as Twitter. Unlike other people his age who couldn’t be bothered with the social media platform, the singer has become an expert in its use due his willingness to converse with his follower and quickly became a must-follow. His hot takes on politics, climate change and other singers has been an entertaining revelation.

Despite his disgust with the state of politics (“We elected a complete imbecile to run this country,” “People are spreading racism like manure in a field of hay”), which is a prescient theme on Sky Trails, Crosby says he’s in as good of a place as he’s ever been.

“One, I’m very happy right now,” he explains of his career renaissance. “Two, I left CSN and it was a great band, but it had gotten to the point where it was ‘Turn on the smoke machine and play the hits.’ It wasn’t exciting or fun, and we didn’t really like each other. There wasn’t any joy or forward motion. Jumping out of that — which of course is like leaping off a cliff — it has had a tremendously beneficial effect. I’ve been really happy and writing a ton of songs. That’s how I gauge how I’m on the right path or not.”

That said, Crosby won’t rule out a reunion. When we caught up with Graham Nash last month, he said he’d be willing to put aside his squabbles with the controversial singer since the volatile times called for a CSN or a CSNY reunion. When we relayed this to the singer, the tenor of Crosby’s voice perked up.

“Sure, I’d love to do it,” he says. “We have something to say that might be useful. CSNY is always up to Neil, so if he wants to do it, we’ll do it. We certainly know how (laughs)!”

Until that happens, Crosby continues to focus on his own material, with his current tour shaping up to be a mix of the stripped down acoustic nature of his last one with the big band sound of what’s to come on Sky Trails.

“I’m having so much fun, I’ve gotta tell you,” he says. “I’m at a wonderful point in my life. I just wish I wasn’t as old, but I’m really having a lot of fun doing this.”

David Crosby performs tonight at The City National Grove of Anaheim. For tickets, click here.

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