Friday, August 18, 2023

David Crosby 7: Lighthouse

All of a sudden David Crosby was busy musically, which was good for him, since he’d pissed off Nash and Young seemingly for good, and Stills was happy playing with anyone else. Enter one Michael League, who was born right before Crosby went to prison for multiple drug and weapons convictions in the mid-‘80s. Apparently the kid, who was best known for a jazz fusion called Snarky Puppy, wanted to record something fast, so they did. Lighthouse is mostly a collaboration, with Crosby singing everything and playing some guitar, while League adds very unobtrusive guitars and basses. (Surprisingly absent for the first time in decades is James Raymond, who’d been so involved with every other Crosby project of the previous twenty years.)

Overall it’s a very gentle album, beginning with “Things We Do For Love”, which is otherwise about as slight as its title might suggest, but good luck resisting it. “The Us Below” has a comforting, familiar rolling guitar part and rich harmonies pondering our place in the universe. “Drive Out To The Desert” is full of good advice, delivered slowly and deliberately. Musically it’s a prelude to the more percussive “Look In Their Eyes”, which appears to be a plea for the homeless, immigrants, refugees, you name it. He expands the theme on “Somebody Other Than You”, wherein he angrily assails the people who marginalized others in the first place.

League wrote the music for “The City”, which is probably why it doesn’t sound like a Crosby song, but somebody should have noticed the lift from Steely Dan’s “Do It Again”. They’re not the first to write about New York as a woman, and won’t be the last. “Paint You A Picture” is another collaboration with Marc Cohn, who wrote the words but does not play the piano. Spooky as well as haunting, the lyrics are as autumnal as the music. “What Makes It So” combines the rolling approach already heard on the album with more questioning of so-called authority. “By The Light Of Common Day” stands out for one of the female voices who sings with him, one Becca Stevens, who also wrote the music to Crosby’s words.

Lighthouse is another nice album, and at its best when it stays low-key. While we don’t hear the masterpiece other reviewers have, and he certainly sounds older, it was good to know he still had the fire to create.

David Crosby Lighthouse (2016)—3

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