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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
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,
"It's a natural thing
for me," says Crosby, who joyously
embraced the challenge of the shifting song
"I've always felt more
comfortable there. There's complexity,
intricacy and subtleties in the music. I like that
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."
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
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
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
Crosby found himself reinvigorated by the stellar
musicians with which he's surrounded
himself. "All the people in
the Sky Trails band are much younger than
me, so I have to paddle faster to keep
up," he says with a
His delight in working with his son, whom Crosby met when
Raymond was 30 after being given up for adoption, is palpable.
that's developed with my son is
absolutely uncanny and wonderful,"
Crosby co-wrote four of the
album's 10 songs with
"He's probably the
person I write best with," Crosby
says. "We often write over the
internet. I'll send him a scrap of words
and then we'll expand on it or
I'll send him a complete set of words and
'please let me see what I can come up
he'll send me back a demo of what he
thinks the music should be."
He also praises Raymond for his inventive studio wizardry,
especially on "Curved
Raymond's keyboards create the vibrant
flamenco guitar sound that serves as the
"Hell no, I can't play
like that," Crosby laughs when
asked if he's playing guitar on the track
that examines life's contradictions.
James on keyboard. So is the bass. It's
the only time I've ever heard anybody
write singer/songwriter music with flamenco playing."
Crosby and Raymond recorded some of the songs at
Raymond's home studio and then moved to
Jackson Browne's Groove Masters studio in
Santa Monica for tunes that feature the full band.
In addition to the opener and
standout tracks include
"Before Tomorrow Falls On
Love," a spare, romantic piano
ballad Crosby co-wrote with Michael McDonald, that reveals Crosby
to be quite the tender jazz crooner.
"For God's sake,
don't tell anybody I can
croon," he says with a sharp
laugh. "It was the nature of the
song." He and Becca Stevens bring
a sweet, ethereal gentleness to the title track, as their voices
weave around Tavaglione's soprano sax.
stunning, amazing singer and a great
writer," Crosby says of Stevens,
with whom he co-wrote the track.
"I'd rather be in a
band with her than almost anybody."
Though he offers abundant praise for his bandmates, as
writer/co-writer of eight of the tracks, Crosby deserves the credit
for the album's wide-ranging, incisive
lyrics that examine the human condition, from our frailty
Sunset" to our greed on the
"It's a smorgasbord
of feelings," he says of the
"There's so many
different things going in so many different
Yet, anchored by Crosby's
instantly recognizable iconic vocals, which are by turns biting and
soulful, the album holds together remarkably well as a cohesive
statement about our humanity.
The album's lone cover is a
stirring version of
"Amelia," a tune
written by Crosby's longtime friend Joni
Mitchell and featured on her own jazz-based seminal work,
"I've always loved how
Joni wrote about her love life and Amelia
Earhart's life at the same
time," Crosby says.
"It's just exquisite
Sky Trails closes with the shimmering, finely
Free." While the song works
beautifully as a stand-alone track, Crosby wrote it
for Little Pink House, a feature film based on
the true story of a Connecticut woman, Susette Kelo. After
remodeling her beloved small home, Kelo was evicted when the
government seized her land via eminent domain for a Pfizer plant
that, ultimately, was never built. She took her case to the Supreme
Court and lost. Crosby's friend, Jeff
Benedict, wrote a book about the case and when the book was turned
into a film, asked Crosby to contribute a song. His vulnerable,
exposed vocals are a fitting benediction.
In Crosby's unparalleled
six-decade career, the native Californian has created songs that
resonate as indelible cultural touchstones for more than three
generations, not only as a solo artist, but as a founding member of
The Byrds in the mid-60s, Crosby, Stills & Nash (recipients of
the Grammy for best new artist in 1969), and Crosby, Stills, Nash
& Young. He's collaborated with
dozens of artists, including Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Pink
Floyd's David Gilmour, Phil Collins,
Elton John and Carole King.
The folk rock pioneer, who was inducted into the
prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009, has also served as
our social conscience, not only eloquently writing about societal
issues on such songs as "Almost Cut
My Hair" and
but continuously donating concert proceeds to likeminded
causes. His towering influence and brilliant ability to capture the
spirit of our times in his music remains undiminished.
The good news is that at 75, Crosby remains as engaged and
energized as ever, with no end in sight. The creative floodgates
that opened a few years ago continue to flow and Crosby delights
that the songs are still pouring forth. He
doesn't think too hard about why the muse
has alighted upon him at this late stage in his career, but offers
up that perhaps once CS&N ended,
"there was a lot of pent-up creative juice.
It's as if I'd
been in a dark room and someone turned on the
lights," he says.
"I don't want to take
it for granted, but it's been absolutely
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The Things That We Are Made Of, the new full-length album
by renowned and beloved singer, songwriter and performer Mary
Chapin Carpenter, will be released May 6 on Lambent Light Records via Thirty
Tigers (pre-order). Produced by 2016 Producer of the Year
Grammy-nominee Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton), the album
features eleven new songs, including the lead track "Something
Tamed Something Wild," which premiered yesterday at Rolling Stone
and can now be heard/shared via Soundcloud. Of the song, Rolling
Stone praises, "…beautifully sums up where she's been and sets the
stage for what's yet to come…'Something Tamed Something Wild' and
indeed the entire new album finds the songwriter at her most
thoughtful and also at times sweetly whimsical, perfectly capturing
the buoyant spirit of her early successes and also serving as a
reminder that she remains one of the most grounded, sentient
songwriters of her generation."
In celebration of the release, Carpenter will return to D.C.'s
legendary Wolf Trap for a special performance on July 2. Tickets
will go on-sale on Saturday, March 19. Additional tour dates to be
The Things That We Are Made Of was recorded at Nashville's Sound
Emporium and Low Country Sound studios during the spring and summer
of 2016. In addition to Carpenter (vocals, electric/acoustic
guitar), the album features Cobb (electric/acoustic/gut string
guitar, percussion, Moog, Mellotron), Annie Clements (bass), Brian
Allen (bass), Chris Powell (drums, percussion), Mike Webb (piano,
B3 organ, reed organ, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes) and Jimmy Wallace
(piano, B3 organ).
Of the album, Carpenter comments, "Working with Dave felt great
from the first day of our sessions. He is always willing to try
something new, believes that 'yes' is the only answer, and
surrounds himself with wonderfully talented and generous musicians;
by the end of the project, I felt as if I was a part of a new
Cobb adds, "I wanted to work with Mary Chapin because very few
people can cut with words like she can. She's an absolute poet and
legend. I was so happy to collaborate on this album
Over the course of her acclaimed career, Carpenter has recorded 14
albums and sold over 14 million records. With hits like "Passionate
Kisses" and "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," she has won five Grammy
Awards (with 15 nominations), two CMA awards, two Academy of
Country Music awards for her vocals and is a member of the
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Most recently, in 2014,
Carpenter released her acclaimed debut orchestral album, Songs From
The Movie. Arranged and co-produced by six-time Grammy winner Vince
Mendoza, the record is comprised of ten previously recorded
compositions including "Between Here and Gone" and "Come On Come
On." Since it's release, Carpenter has performed alongside the New
York Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the London
Concert Orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic and the National Symphony
Orchestra among many others.
Citing as inspiration such seminal film composers as Elmer
Bernstein and Thomas Newman, and contemporary symphonic composers
like Tobias Picker and Morten Lauridsen, Carpenter had long
imagined this project but it wasn't until she had the chance to
work with Mendoza that it came to fruition.
The result reprises ten of Carpenter's songs in Mendoza's
distinctively beautiful and cinematic arrangements - thus the album
title that gathers them together - to give the listener the
continuum of a film soundtrack, albeit an imaginary
The album was recorded at London's legendary AIR Studios, with a
63-piece orchestra, and a 15-voice choir. "Part of the challenge of
this new musical setting was to find the right approach to singing
each song," Carpenter says. "Singing with an orchestra is very
different from singing with a band. I had to learn to ride the
enormous wave of sound an orchestra produces but not over sing at
the same time. Finding a quiet voice while still conveying strength
was the way in."
From "Come On Come On" to "On And On It Goes" to "I Am A Town" and
"Goodnight America," the record finds this multi-platinum album
selling, multi-Grammy winner, two-time CMA Female Vocalist, and
member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame still breaking new
ground, giving us a record unlike any of her others. "I grew up in
a house where film soundtracks and classical music played
constantly because my mother loved them so," Carpenter says, as a
way to explain how she came to this project. "Recording at AIR
Studios in London was magical and working with Vince as he
transformed my songs with his arrangements was an extraordinary
artistic experience. I feel so fortunate to have been given this
chance to do something so different from what I have done in the
past and what I expect to do in the future."
That level of excitement and fearless creativity has been a common
thread throughout Mary Chapin Carpenter's two-and-a-half-decade
recording career, during which she's sold more than 13 million
records and developed a remarkably loyal and devoted international
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Carpenter began playing guitar and
writing songs early in life, and was playing her songs in D.C.
clubs before she was out of her teens. Word of Carpenter's talents
eventually reached Nashville, winning her a deal with Columbia
Records, which released her 1987 debut album, Hometown Girl.
Her debut disc set the stage for the success of 1989's State of
the Heart and 1990's Shooting Straight in the Dark, each of which
produced four Top 20 hits, including the Grammy-winning smash "Down
at the Twist and Shout." Those releases were followed by the
massive commercial breakthrough of 1992's Come On Come On, which
was certified quadruple platinum and yielded no less than seven
More success followed with such albums as the platinum Stones in
the Road, A Place in the World, Time* Sex* Love* and Between Here
and Gone. Carpenter moved to Rounder/Zoë in time for 2007's
Grammy-nominated The Calling, which was followed by the seasonally
themed Come Darkness Come Light: 12 Songs of Christmas, the
Grammy-nominated The Age of Miracles and Ashes and
Along the way, Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards, was named the
Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year in 1992 and
1993 and in 2012 was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall
of Fame. Her compositions have also been covered by a diverse
assortment of artists including Joan Baez, Wynonna Judd, Cyndi
Lauper, Trisha Yearwood, Maura O'Connell, Mary Black and Dianne
Reeves and has also collaborated, on record and/or on stage, with
the likes of Joan Baez, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, the Indigo
Girls and Tony Bennett.
Following the January 2014 debut of the album with the BBC
Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the prestigious Celtic Connections
Festival in Glasgow, Carpenter will appear as a guest with
orchestras in the U.S. and the U.K. throughout 2014.
Mary Chapin Carpenter
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Chris Hillman is the kind of free only earned by having
nothing left to prove.
"It was a passion," Hillman says, reflecting on his early years
with a guitar, mandolin, and bass. "I had this passion to embrace
the music and learn it, never really thinking, 'I'm going to be a
huge star.' I didn't think that way at all."
At first, it's tempting to dismiss the idea that the co-founder
of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the Byrds, as well as the Flying
Burrito Brothers, Manassas, and Desert Rose Band, never longed for
bright lights. But his confession actually hints at a deeper truth:
Hillman didn't dream of his name on a marquee because ultimately,
he was meant for something far greater. Chris Hillman is more than
a rock star. He is one of the architects of American music.
Hillman's new album Bidin' My Time puts that pedigree on
ferocious display. Produced by Tom Petty and executive produced by
Herb Pedersen, the project captures a rarity: an icon who has never
sounded better, making music with old friends for the sheer love of
it. "I did everything I felt was right in the moment," Hillman says
of the recording process, before adding with characteristic
sincerity, "I did my very best. That's all any of us can do."
Herb began his career in Berkeley, California in the early
60's playing 5 string banjo and acoustic guitar with people like
David Grisman, Butch Waller, David Nelson, and Jerry Garcia. Herb
has done well in adding his talents to the recordings of many folk
and country music artists of today.
For the last thirty years, Herb has lived in southern
California, and participated in select music groups, either in
recording, or traveling on the road doing concerts. His recording
discography is like a who's who of the singer/songwriter scene, so
prevalent in the 70s and 80s. His own groups, like The Desert Rose
Band, and The Laurel Canyon Ramblers, show why Herb is so respected
in the industry.
With his lifelong pal, Chris Hillman, Herb is in the process of
continuing the type of music they both grew up playing and singing.
There is a work in progress most of the time and that's the way
Herb likes it.
Television and motion picture sound tracks are something Herb
has been involved in since the early 70s. Shows like The Rockford
Files, Smokey and The Bandit, the Maverick movie with Mel Gibson,
Hunter, The Simpsons, have used Herb either on 5 string banjo, or
vocals for many years.
Artists like Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Johnny
Rivers, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jennifer
Warnes, John Prine and Jesse Winchester have used Herb's talents in
the past, and in all probability will continue to do so …From
Carnegie Hall to the Ryman auditorium, Herb's been on the scene
enjoying every minute of it.
Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen