Rock icon teams with Writers’ Foundation
ASPEN Few rock ‘n’ roll musicians have had as much to express musically as David Crosby. The singer, songwriter and guitarist is a two-time member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – for his contributions to folk-rock pioneers the Byrds, and for the groundbreaking supergroup Crosby, Still, Nash & Young – and has also released solo albums, duets recordings with CSNY mate Graham Nash, and played extensively with his latest group, CPR.And few musicians have detailed and reflected on the rock ‘n’ roll life as colorfully. Crosby’s latest autobiography, “Since Then: How I Survived Everything and Lived to Tell About It,” published in November, is his second no-holds-barred book. Together with 1988’s “Long Time Gone,” the two volumes create a tale of Crosby’s 40-plus years in all their sex, drugs, guns, addictions, illnesses and musical glory.Crosby will present both his songs and his stories Aug. 16 at Belly Up Aspen. The event – part of the Aspen Writers’ Foundation’s Lyrically Speaking series – will feature solo performances of songs, and an interview of Crosby by Paul Zollo, senior editor of American Songwriter magazine. Lyrically Speaking events are designed to provide a unique forum for artists who double as musicians and writers.
Also scheduled in the series is Vusi Mahlasela, a South African singer and poet. Mahlasela is set for Aug. 7.”I certainly think he is a character,” Lisa Consiglio, executive director of the Writers’ Foundation, said of Crosby. “He’s a terrific storyteller, charismatic. And he’s a little on the wild side. You never know what he’s going to say – or play.”The Los Angeles-born Crosby, the son of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby, came to prominence in the mid ’60s with the Byrds. The band scored a hit with a countrified version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and the original tune “Eight Miles High,” co-written by Crosby. Crosby left the band after they refused to release his song “Triad,” about a sexual threesome.In the late ’60s, Crosby joined Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of the Hollies to form Crosby, Stills & Nash. Crosby contributed the hits “Almost Cut My Hair” and “Long Time Gone” to the trio. CSN expanded to CSNY in 1969 with the addition of Stills’ Buffalo Springfield mate Neil Young; the group had a No. 1 album with “Déjà Vu.”
As a solo artist, Crosby recorded 1971’s “If I Could Only Remember My Name,” featuring Joni Mitchell and members of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Last year saw the release of the three-CD box set “Voyages,” a career retrospective.Crosby has made nearly as much news outside of music. He was jailed in the mid-’80s on drug-related weapons charges; photos at the time showed a bloated rock casualty. In 1994, he underwent a liver transplant, related to past drug abuse. The following year he united with his biological son, keyboardist James Raymond, and the two, with guitarist Jeff Pevar, formed the band CPR. In 2000, more family news was revealed when singer Melissa Etheridge announced that Crosby was the biological father, by artificial insemination, of her two children. In 2004, Crosby was arrested again on marijuana and gun possession charges in a New York hotel.Crosby has remained artistically active while gaining tabloid headlines. He has toured and recorded with CPR; the band has made a pair of appearances at the Wheeler Opera House over the last few years. CSNY has toured and recorded occasionally. In 2004, Crosby and Nash released the two-disc set “Crosby Nash.”
In 2000, Crosby published “Stand and Be Counted,” a book of interviews exploring celebrity involvement with social causes.”I love that he’s an author,” Consiglio said. “He certainly cares about the written word.”Tickets for the Crosby event go on sale Friday. Tickets are $45 for general admission, and $150 for reserved seats. There will also be a limited number of $10 tickets available to educators and high school students.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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