David Crosby’s new album For Free is arriving July 23rd, less than a month before his 80th birthday. It features collaborations with Michael McDonald, Donald Fagen, Sarah Jarosz, and James Raymond, his son and longtime bandmate.
“With a transcendent quality that lies somewhere between poetry, prayer, and wild-eyed rock & roll,” reads the official album announcement, “For Free yet again reveals Crosby’s rare gift for imparting essential truths with both undeniable warmth and a profound sense of wonder.”
The album opens with “River Rise,” written by Raymond and McDonald. “‘River Rise’ came from wanting to write something very evocative of California, but almost with a country-song perspective,” Raymond says, “something that speaks to the empowerment of the everyman or everywoman.”
The title track is a cover of a 1970 Joni Mitchell song from her classic LP Ladies of the Canyon. “Joni’s the greatest living singer/songwriter, and ‘For Free’ is one of her simplest,” Crosby says in a statement. “It’s one of my favorite songs because I love what it says about the spirit of music and what compels you to play.”
Another song, “Rodriguez for a Night,” was written specifically for the project by Fagen. “It’s really fucking good, man,” Crosby told Rolling Stone last year. “I’m so honored he gave us a set of words. I’ve been asking him for a couple of years. He started to trust us, I think. It took a long time, but he gave us a set of words that are really wonderful and we just wrote the shit out of them.”
For Free is Crosby’s fifth solo album since 2014. Prior to that, he’d only released three solo albums throughout his entire career. He’s been off the road since the pandemic started, and he recently sold his publishing to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group to make up for the loss in income.
“I think people are going to love this record,” he told Rolling Stone last year. “I think people are going to like the music. And that is great. That is what I’m holding onto, fiercely, to try and get through all the crazy. And there’s a lot of crazy.”