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David Crosby | Here If You Listen

The ’60s folk icon continues his late-career renaissance on his latest album.

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“I‘ve been thinking about dying and how to do it well,” David Crosby croons with surprising sweetness a few songs into Here If You Listen. Well, fair enough, I guess. After all, the folk icon did just turn 77 this year. And let’s be honest: He’s lived the sort of life that would (and has) killed countless stronger men. Between the drugs, the prison time and the liver transplant, it’s amazing he’s still around. And even more amazing that after all that, he has spent the past several years creating some of the most beautiful and engaging music of his decades-long career. Here If You Listen, his fourth release in five years, finds him continuing to evolve and grow without abandoning the melodic, instrumental and harmonic hallmarks that have served him for years. Reteaming with Skinny Puppy leader Michael League while adding American singer-guitarist Becca Stevens and Toronto singer-keyboardist Michelle Willis to the mix, Crosby and his impossibly undiminished pipes gently guide his cohorts through a wealth of gorgeous acoustic ballads built from fingerpicked guitars, atmospheric keyboards and exquisitely interwoven vocals. Highlights abound, from topical numbers like Other Half Rule (which features lyrics about “Rocket Man and Little Hands“) and the existential Your Own Ride (the source of the fatalistic lyrics above) to the ancient demos titled 1967 and 1974, which have been fleshed out with new overdubs by his bandmates. And then there’s the closing update of Woodstock, which may sound like sacrilege but quickly disarms you with its understated elegance. Now there’s something he already knows how to do well.