David Crosby Croz (Blue Castle Records) ***** One golden rule of songwriting: wait until you have something to say. And letting the field lie fallow has worked a treat for David Crosby. His first solo outing in 20 years reminds us just how artful and thought-provoking a record can be. Croz is a free-flowing, jazz and folk-imbued affair packing spellbinding vocal harmonies, soul-searching lyrics and choice contributions from the guitarist Mark Knopfler and the piccolo trumpet doyen, Wynton Marsalis. That Crosby, now 72, has hatched a cracker worthy of his output with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is both impressive and pleasing. The intricate, hypnotic What’s Broken explores how emotional baggage acquired can leave certain luckless individuals labelled damaged goods (“Who wants to know what desperate is? / Who wants to buy what’s broken?”, sings Croz), but the restorative flip side is the magnificent Set That Baggage Down: “Everything that broke you / bury it in the sand.” Most surprising, perhaps, is The Clearing, wherein acoustic guitars strummed in an expansive open-tuning are ambushed by menacing analogue synthesiser, but Croz is inspired from start to finish.
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