‘Croz’ by David Crosby

David CrosbyAlbum: “Croz”
Artist: David Crosby
Genre: Rock
Label: Blue Castle Records
Release Date: Jan. 28, 2014
4 stars / 5

Those who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame are probably doing something right. If one has been inducted twice, then there’s no doubt. He or she is definitely doing something right.

There aren’t too many people who can boast that they’ve been twice inducted in that Hall Of Fame, but among that group is David Crosby, famously of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and occasionally Young. Basically, he’s a rock ‘n’ roll hero, an icon to the point that just the abbreviation of his name on his new record “Croz“ is enough to say it all.

So here’s what he’s doing (and doing right). For one, the album is intensely groovy. Nearly every song, regardless of the tempo or drive, is full of a groove that couldn’t be subdued even with tiger tranquilizers.

Album opener “What’s Broken” is an example of this. The answer to the titular question hopefully isn’t listeners’ dancing muscles, because the growling Rhodes keys, funky bass line and twitchy break beats at the drum kit are a compelling force for dance.

This continues throughout the album. When one thinks dancing, he or she might not default to images of 72-year-old rock ‘n’ roll versions of Gandalf, but this dude can write some serious funky tunes.

The second bit of excellence on this record is its ability to balance classic rock ‘n’ roll against modern adaptations. “Croz” sounds simultaneously as if it came out of 1974 and 2014. There’s a healthy dose of the old and the new in each track, as in the bass-driven “Set That Baggage Down,” which is full of old-school call-and-response choruses, hair-raising flourishes on a wickedly toned bass guitar and a heavy modern groove.

This new-in-old sound is most strikingly apparent on “Holding On To Nothing,” which begins as an acoustic hand-drum jam and evolves into a wailing synthy epic by the end of the 4-minute song. Classic blues licks are juxtaposed with reverse loops of guitar solos. If the devil is in the details on this one, the devil’s dressed in a tux.

And then there’s Crosby himself. Not only is he a great lyricist, but he’s also a wonderful singer. “Slice of Time” is a heavily groovy track with a lot of empty space that allows him to scamper all over the register in his silky, time-worn voice. Crosby is kind of like a good bottle of wine: He’s old and he is good!

Whereas many rock stars lose their cool in their later years, there’s something about Crosby that preserves his iconic status in rock ‘n’ roll history.

One of the worst and best characteristics of “Croz” is the album art.  The font looks like it was done in Microsoft Paint. But that only contributes to the fact that this record is a total sleeper. Not only does Crosby have some seriously impressive horn-owl eyebrows, but if one had somehow managed to never hear a piece of music with some bit of his influence, this record could easily win him or her over. Every song is a little surprise, from the psychedelic “If She Called” to the digital drum-kit folk ballad that is “Dangerous Night.”

So all cover art aside, the diversity and attention to detail on this record makes “Croz” an absolute winner.