Tuesday, 24 October 2017

David Crosby - Sky Trails, album review

But Here Now

A funked-up jazzy keyboard by James Raymond opens the first track She’s Got to be Somewhere, Crosby’s vocal cascading in its fine melodic line, waiting for the equally fine harmonies to commune: this has the sound of a Steely Dan number from a while ago, a touchstone others have noted in its obvious echo. Well, that’s fine too.

The next is the title track, and it is sublime. That’s way beyond fine. With vocal accompaniment from Becca Stevens, the harmonies are genuinely glorious – the extra move to a wash of more harmony and soprano sax by Steve Tavaglione invokes Crosby from his earliest days and yet also anchores it to this newer jazz ambience. It might well be my track of the year.

Third Sell Me a Diamond is another classic Crosby, the musical narrative that has a message – if this transaction is the key to letting go…makes conflict free sound good to me – the metaphor a mysterious sparkle that refracts the search for freedom, perhaps: desirable but not always easy to find. Greg Leisz on pedal steel and Jeff Pevar on guitar add layers of soft and hard like the metaphor itself.

Before the sweet cover of Joni Mitchell’s Ameila, songs like Before Tomorrow Falls on Love, a co-write with Michael McDonald, and Here It’s Almost Sunset remind of those jazz-inflected songs from Hejira. And of course the actual cover is beautiful, Crosby’s still superb singing and Mitchell’s songwriting conjoined in the now of its recording and the history of their relationship. The album as a whole is a complete representation of this particular symbiosis, the enduring sound of then and now; there and here.

Reviews of Croz and Lighthouse here;  review of CS&N at Bristol, 2013 here.

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