“I am a very happy guy,” reported David Crosby during a recent phone interview. The 74-year-old rocker could barely contain himself, in fact, as he was itching to ditch the phone and dip right back into the studio. Clearly, neither the passage of time nor the somewhat rocky personal road that carried him here have dulled the L.A.-born, S.B.-raised icon, who is in the process of recording not one but two new albums. He seems to be shining brighter now than he has in a long time. “I’m in the middle of a chapter that [has] just begun,” he said.
By the time Crosby plays at the Granada Theatre, he will have already left the studio to share with the world the fruits of his most recent years of renaissance. Two years ago, Crosby released Croz, his fourth studio album and his first studio album in more than two decades, since 1993’s Thousand Roads. The years in between were relatively quiet ones for the cofounder of monumental bands like The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, at least in terms of music output. Health problems and law run-ins clouded the picture, which also included rosier moments like appearances in Hook and The Simpsons — Crosby studied drama at Santa Barbara City College.
The biggest events happened behind the scenes, when in 1997 Crosby reunited with his son James Raymond, who was born in 1962 and put up for adoption. The two formed a band, CPR, with guitarist Jeff Pevar. Crosby’s newest album is the result of their ongoing father-son dynamic, with much of it having been recorded in the younger Crosby’s studio. “It’s an incredibly beautiful thing to have happened in my life. I treasure it; I treasure it greatly,” Crosby the elder said.
Crosby also found another unlikely collaborator for his newest, a Santa Ynez Valley‒based poet and longtime friend named Sterling Price, who works at The Book Loft in Solvang. Price had sent Crosby a bit of verse that struck the musician as especially lyrical. “I said, ‘Sterling, that one sounds like a verse from a song — can you write another?’” he recounted. Bit by bit, Price sent a new verse, and then a bridge, until the two had the makings of a song. The piece that resulted — “Holding On to Nothing” — is one of the standouts on Croz. “It’s the first song [Sterling] ever wrote in his life, and I think it’s beautiful,” said Crosby.
“It was kind of a thrill,” said Price of the experience, expressing gratitude for the opportunity.
When he plays solo at the Granada, Crosby will no doubt share the other stories that informed his songs. He plans to play a career-spanning set, going all the way back to his first album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, and the 1960s-’70s tunes with which he made a name for himself. “These shows are just me, the words, and the music, and the words really count,” he said.
Expect, perhaps, a bit of local lore, too, as Crosby is fond of sailing and diving out by the islands, or spending time in the quiet of Santa Ynez Valley. And who knows? Maybe he’ll play something entirely new. “I just want to play more; I just want to record more; I just want to write more,” he said. “I’m dying to do more, and it’s so much fun. I’m having a blast.”
David Crosby plays on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m., at the Granada Theatre (1214 State St.). For tickets and information, call (805) 899-2222 or see ticketing.granadasb.org.