MANHATTAN, NY—It was a night of redemptive rock, as David Crosby presented his new album, Croz, on its release date at City Winery, performing the disc in its entirety for the first of a two-set night. Bearing metaphors that rallied around a life lived rather large, on the sea and sand, Crosby’s new ones took on the complex harmonies and jazz-laden eccentricities that define his best work with CSN into a collective stew of folksy cosmic rock.
Verses went down like sermons to the cause as the choruses flew to the bar and back, playing against each other like the ebb and flow of the tides. Soulfully gracious platitudes delivered with a snarky twinkle—he’s been there, done that—Crosby seemed to revel in the club-like intimacy at the Winery, adding, “This is what I was meant to do.”
In quiet contemplative tones that went from a whisper to a roar, his backup band—including guitarist Shane Fontayne (who also played on Graham Nash’s recent tour) and son James Raymond—straddled the sonic divide as they bridged the quiet and contemplative meandering of new age jazz meisters with the bang ‘em up might of a rock band.
The group steered the mother ship through the channels of time and space. Waving a proverbial finger at the crowd, the walrus-mustachioed singer-songwriter challenged it with his sardonic wit and gorgeous melodies that the band played majestically. Rock survivor, yes, he’s looking forward, too. Separating the wheat from the shaft yet again, his performance smacked at those ’60s truisms taking on the man and then some.
Opening with “What’s Broken” from Croz, the band played the entire album in order. He sang in hushed tones, hands in pocket and dressed in downtown black as the band laid down a funky soundtrack that meandered on down the spine of the Americas to Brazil and back. “Set The Baggage Down,” according to Crosby, was based on “stuff I learned at 12-step meetings.” By the time the record closer, “Find A Heart,” went down with its swirly keyboards, jazzy horns and samba-esque world beats, everyone beamed in delight.
The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” jumpstarted the second set that took the crowd on a hazy trip though the ’60s and ’70s with “Guinnevere” (a song Crosby claimed to never have played the same way twice and dedicated to his wife Jan) and “Cowboy Movie” from Crosby’s finest hour, If Could Only Remember My Name. “Déjà Vue” was the closer that left everyone thinking, “We have all been here before, yes indeed, and how sweet it is!”
For more on David Crosby, check out davidcrosby.com.