It’s a good time to be David Crosby. The two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is experiencing an unprecedented surge not only in prolificacy, but in creativity.
Sky Trails, his third album of original material in four years, takes the fearless folk rock legend in a new musical direction as the set tilts toward a full band sound with deep, soulful grooves. “It’s a natural thing for me,” says Crosby, who joyously embraced the challenge of the shifting song structures. “I’ve always felt more comfortable there. There’s complexity, intricacy and subtleties in the music. I like that stuff.”
The album opens with the intoxicating “She’s Got To Be Somewhere,” –Crosby and a nine-piece band premiered the track via the Tonight Show earlier this year - which sounds like a lost Steely Dan cut complete with sturdy horns, bending guitar notes and lilting melodies. “We didn’t consciously do that,” Crosby says. “We just naturally go to a place where Donald [Fagen] goes. I loved Steely Dan right from the first notes I heard.”
“We” is Crosby and the Sky Trails musicians, the core of whom are saxophonist Steve Tavaglione, bassist Mai Agan, drummer Steve DiStanislao, and Crosby’s son, multi-instrumentalist James Raymond, who also produced the album.
Sky Trails follows last year’s critically acclaimed Lighthouse – which received praise from outlets including Rolling Stone, Stereogum and NPR Music - which was preceded by 2014’s Croz, Crosby’s first solo album in 20 years. Though Crosby wrote many of the songs for Sky Trails as he was working on Lighthouse, the two are distinctly different projects. “Lighthouse was conspicuously and deliberately acoustic,” Crosby says. “Sky Trails was intended to be a full band record from the start.”