David Crosby returns this fall with his fifth studio album, “Lighthouse,” a nine-song collection the 74-year-old songwriter wrote with Michael League of jazz fusion band Snarky Puppy. The lead track, “Things We Do For Love” is a love song Crosby wrote for his wife, Jan. It premieres today on Speakeasy.
“Lighthouse” was recorded rather quickly, Crosby says, with studio sessions primarily taking place the first two weeks of February earlier this year. He describes the music within as raw and stripped down. “I think we made one of my best records, ever,” he says.
“Lighthouse” is due out Oct. 21. Read our interview with Crosby about the new album and listen to the first song below.
This is your fifth solo album, but second in the last two years. Is it a fruitful for time for you?
It’s a very fruitful time. I don’t know how to explain this, but, most people my age have petered out. They don’t have a writing surge. My writing always comes in bursts, but for the last couple years, I’ve had this inexplicable surge. Probably the densest and longest surge I’ve had, which at this stage in the game is a miracle. I can’t explain why that would happen except that I’m happy. I’m a very happy guy. That may be the key to the whole deal.
Was there ever a period in your life where you were thought you should have been more productive?
Everybody goes through that. They think that it’s a dry spell and they worry about it. The truth is, you probably are going to write again.
You wrote the material on “Lighthouse” with Michael League of Snarky Puppy. Did you two bond in ways that you haven’t bonded with other musicians?
He’s an immensely talented musician. He was very sneaky, too. He didn’t tell me he could play lead guitar. He didn’t tell me he could sing. And he never told me he could write words. But when we sat down at my house, we wrote three songs in three days. I think the only person in my life that has been that good at writing and co-working with [me] is my son James. I love writing with someone else because the other guy always thinks of something you didn’t.
Did you tackle any subjects on “Lighthouse” that were surprising to you?
I don’t have expectations about what the songs are about. I don’t go in with an agenda. Most of them are love songs. Normally a phrase or idea sparks the song and it goes some place on its own. Some of our job is to make you boogie, some of our job is to take you on a little voyage, emotionally. Every once in a while, we can throw in one where we say, “Hey, it’s 11:30, and you’re about to elect an idiot!”
Your first record, “If I Could Only Remember My Name,” came out 45 years ago. Do you have fond memories of that album and time?
Yes, for a lot of reasons. I had a bunch of songs and I had only used two of them on [Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's] “Deja Vu,” because there were four writers. The joy of it was, I was having a very hard time emotionally. My girlfriend had gotten killed in a car wreck. I was pretty damaged from it. So I stayed in the studio. It was the only safe place I had. And my friends came. Notably, [Jerry] Garcia came just about every night. And [Phil]Lesh, and [Bill]Kreutzmann and other guys from the Dead, and Grace [Slick] and Paul [Kanter] from Jefferson Airplane, some guys from Santana and Quicksilver [Messenger Service] and other San Francisco bands. Of course Gram [Parsons] and Joni [Mitchell] and other friends of mine. They gathered around and helped me make that record in the most organic and loving way. It pretty much saved my sanity. I had something to do and somebody to do it with. It was a lifting force in a pretty tough spot.
Do you find things important these days in your life that you didn’t when you were younger?
Family. When I was younger, back before I got married, the thing that concerned me the most was chasing girls. But after I got married, family became the most important thing and became a big inspiration to me.
1. “Things We Do For Love”
2. “The Us Below”
3. “Drive Out to the Desert”
4. “Look in Their Eyes”
5. “Somebody Other Than You”
6. “The City”
7. “Paint You a Picture”
8. “What Makes It So”
9. “By the Light of Common Day”