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David Crosby Keeps The Harmonies Coming

David Crosby
Anna Webber
Courtesy of the artist
David Crosby

Weren't we just here? Not that I'm complaining! David Crosby is one of my favorite people to talk to.

Crosby is in his late 70s and has released four albums in the past five years. What makes this current creative streak so inspiring and so puzzling to me is that none of these albums feels like a musical case of Déjà Croz. He's not making the same album over again. He's stretching sounds in ways that seem to surprise and delight even Crosby himself.

Crosby's 2017 album, Sky Trails, rang out with the jazzy flair of sweet Steely Dan. And his latest, 2018's Here If You Listen, recorded with the Lighthouse Band, might be one of the most downright gorgeous explorations of harmonies he's ever produced.

Crosby attributes his late-life bout of inspiration to the young musicians he's working with. We talk about the Lighthouse Band's members, Michael League of Snarky Puppy, and solo artistsBecca Stevensand Michelle Willis. Of course, Crosby is not new to the four-part harmony band arrangement. We talk about what he learned from his time in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and he tells the story of watching Neil Young write the iconic song "Ohio" quickly and urgently in the aftermath of the 1970 Kent State shootings.

Crosby is also the subject of a new Cameron Crowe documentary called David Crosby: Remember My Name. Crosby calls it "a very honest conversation," and shares that there are some painful moments. The film will have its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, which begins this week. Listen to it all in the player.

Copyright 2019 XPN

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.
Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.