The celebrated Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young co-founder’s seventh album is his fourth in just four years. Touring with much younger musicians – Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis, Michael League and Bill Laurance feature here – seems to have turbo-charged Crosby’s muse. He sounds as comfortable in his musical skin here as ever.
The latest in the series retains his trademark unusual tunings and dreamy harmonies but is a thoroughly band effort. Their voices combine beautifully. On new recordings of 1967 and 1974, the younger musicians build on Crosby’s demos from those years, the former updated to reference the Parkland shootings as Crosby looks to compare the hippy dream to now. Thus, Vagrant of Venice builds a startling picture based on Crosby’s vision of the Italian city after climate change. Other Half Rule casts a rueful eye over the trigger-happy world of “blind men”, “Rocket man” and “little hands” and calls for women to run the planet.
Elsewhere, Willis’s song Janet is a beautifully observed tale of a woman who lost her man to someone else and is consumed by the departure, before a sublime rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock suggests how the world might have been and perhaps could still be. “I’ve been thinking about dying, and how to do it well,” Crosby sings in the lovely Your Own Ride, but at 77, he’s apparently writing for the next album already.
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