Album Reviews

David Crosby – For Free – Album Review

David Crosby – For Free – Album Review
by Killian Laher

David Crosby continues a late-career renaissance in the last eight years with this, his fifth album since 2014.  As with his more recent albums, he is working largely with his son James Raymonde on his latest collection of melodic, soft-rockers.  Punks take cover!  The opening track River Rise features Doobie Brothers’ Michael McDonald but it’s a melodic joy, full of jangly guitars.  A gorgeous fetching steel guitar introduces I Think I, featuring classic harmonies and a melody prime Fleetwood Mac would be proud of.  The slightly offbeat melody of The Other Side of Midnight is anchored by more harmonies that hark back to classic Crosby (and dare I say it Nash and Young!).

He gets a little “groovy” on the brassy, slightly funky Rodriguez for a Night, which is fine if you like Steely Dan (it’s written by Donald Fagen), though at this point some will want to sling it out the window.  Much better are guitar picked gems Secret Garden and Ships In The Night.  The album improves the further into it you go.  The title track is a duet with Sarah Jarosz of the old Joni Mitchell piano ballad, reproduced faithfully here.  Mitchell’s lyrics and overall sentiment are somewhat naive, though perhaps more relevant today in an era of music streaming and artists releasing music practically ‘for free’.

The heartbreakers are towards the end.  Shot At Me is a gorgeous slice of relaxed, gentle guitar picking giving the song a countrified feel.  The final track, the jazz-tinged torch song I Won’t Stay For Long is lump in the throat stuff, Crosby singing “I don’t know if I’m dying or about to be born”, and later “I don’t want you to see me this way” in his remarkably unweathered voice.  At nearly 80 David Crosby has released an album that, far from a pale reflection of past glories, stands up well with more contemporary classic folk-rockers such as Midlake, Fleet Foxes and even the War On Drugs.  If you’re looking for a musical comfort blanket that’s at once old-fashioned and up-to-date at the same time, look no further than here.

River Rise

Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music

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