After a twenty-year break, David Crosby is returning to his solo career with the release of Croz, an eleven-track LP he made with help with from his son James Raymond and co-producer Daniel Garcia. The new album is due out January 28th. "I wanted to challenge myself," he says. "Most guys my age would have done a covers record or duets on old material. This won't be a huge hit. It'll probably sell nineteen copies. I don't think kids are gonna dig it, but I'm not making it for them. I'm making it for me. I have this stuff that I need to get off my chest."
Work on Croz, which was recorded at Jackson Browne's Groove Masters studio in Santa Monica, California and James Raymond's home studio, began about two years ago. "We didn't have any money," says Crosby. "None. We could have gone and gotten a deal, but everybody in the music business is very leery about the big companies and what kind of lifespan they might have. Most people are doing it on their own, so that's what we did."
Croz is a mellow, moody record unlike anything else in Crosby's vast catalog and many songs were written while Crosby was touring with Crosby, Stills and Nash. "Writing, man, you take it when you can get it," he says. "A snatch of words will come, a piece of melody, you hang onto it and work away at it."
Throughout Croz, Crosby explores a diverse set of subjects. "Morning Falling" is about America's drone strike policies, while "If She Called" - a stark track featuring nothing but soft electric guitar and Crosby's voice - was inspired by a group of young prostitutes that he saw near his hotel in Belgium.
"It was cold out and they had these skinny legs," he says. "They were trying to entice these drunk animals to fuck them. It was so gross, man. So sad. I imagined these girls had come from Kosovo or some place really hideous and they were working their way west, trying to get their way out of the horror show that happened in the middle of Europe. But that's all imaginary. Mostly, I started thinking about where they hide their heart, their soul, their spirit when they're doing it. How do they disassociate? You can be damn sure they do."
The gentle, reflective "Set That Baggage Down" comes from a more personal place. "That's a thing you learn in AA," Crosby says. "I went there for about fourteen and half years. You have to look at what got you there. You have to look at the mistakes, and I made some horrific ones, and then you have to learn from them, figure out how to not wind up there again. You have to set that baggage down and walk on. If you spend all your life looking over your shoulder at the things you did wrong, you're gonna walk smack into a tree."
The album kicks off with "What's Broken," which features Marl Knopfler on guitar (streaming below). "That was a huge piece of generosity on Mark's part," says Crosby. "We sent him the song and he just fucking killed it. He did me a huge favor and we don't even know each other. He's just brilliant." Also guesting on the album is jazz great Wynton Marsalis, who plays trumpet on "Holding on to Nothing." "He's a consummate musician," Crosby says. "I took a chance and asked him and he just said, 'Yeah, send me the tape.' What he played was just beautiful. He has tone for days."
Crosby will support Croz with an American tour kicking off January 28th at the City Winery in New York City. The first half of the show will feature Croz in it's entirety and the second half will be material from Crosby's entire career, including songs by the Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash, CSNY and his solo albums.
Stream "What's Broken" below and check out the tour dates:
1/28 New York, NY — City Winery
1/29 New York, NY — City Winery
1/31 New York, NY — City Winery
2/3 Vienna, VA — The Barn
2/4 Vienna, VA — The Barn
2/8 Chicago, IL — City Winery
2/9 Chicago, IL — City Winery
2/20 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
2/21 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
2/23 Los Angeles, CA — Troubadour
2/24 Los Angeles, CA — Troubadour
2/25 Los Angeles, CA — Troubadour