‘He sounded great’: David Crosby was working on a new album when he died, musicians reveal
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According to musicians who worked with the folk-rock pioneer in his final days, David Crosby was working on a new album and planned to tour again until his death.
The founding member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash died last week at the age of 81. But other artists working with Crosby on new music told Variety that his death was such a shock as he was rehearsing for a new tour and “seemed practically flustered” over new songs he was working on.
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“David didn’t think it would last for years, which he used to joke about all the time. But there was no sense that we couldn’t do this show and the tours,” guitarist Steve Postell told Variety. “We talked about tour buses and what kind of places and the whole team was back together – the road manager and the tour manager and the sound guys – apart from this band that we had done together. There wasn’t even a remote feeling that we weren’t ready to take on the world. And it’s a shame that people couldn’t hear it.”
Postell said he was on the phone with Crosby the day he died and they had tried together the week before. Crosby “seems practically bewildered by it all,” Postell said.
“He showed us new songs like ‘What do you think of these lyrics?’ He had not lost his fire. I want people to know he was there,” Postell said. “He wrote, acted, sang his ass and put on a fantastic show. He did. It has been two years ago in a bed, outside. That didn’t happen at all.”
Both Postell and Sarah Jarosz, another musician working on Crosby’s untitled new album, said his death was sudden, although his widow Jan Dance released a statement saying Crosby was he died “after a long illness.”
Postell said: “He was a debilitated man with many different medical conditions and everyone knew that… but he was not dying. We tried. We went out to eat.”
Jarosz, who recorded vocal and mandolin parts for Crosby’s upcoming untitled album, said she wasn’t aware of a long illness either. “I mean, every time we talked, he’d call and I’d say, ‘How are you?’ And he would say, ‘Well, I’m dying’ – but jokingly… It was more like the old years of life and being 81. It was definitely a shock,” she told Variety.
Jarosz said her previously unreleased song “Talk Till Dawn” was “absolutely beautiful.”
“I feel that his voice has almost always gotten better. Over time she became richer and his vocal performance even on this song has so much youth and spirit and honesty,” she added.
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Crosby released five studio albums in the last decade of his life, the latest, For Free, which was released in July 2021. In an interview last year, Crosby reflected on his amazing productivity , saying it was “an absurd speed to release albums”.
“I am 80 years old, so I will die soon. That’s how it works. And so I try very hard to understand as much music as I can until it’s really good… I have another one in the can waiting.”
Crosby announced his retirement from touring last year, citing his age, but in December he tweeted he said he had changed his mind. Postell told Variety that Crosby was convinced after having Postell play guitar for him so he could focus on singing.
“His hands, like many people, became progressively arthritic and difficult,” said Postell. “It was getting harder and harder for him… but [not playing guitar] it will not be a hindrance at all to make these shows. In fact, it really freed him because he didn’t have to think about it. He can only sing. I don’t know how he could have done that. is heard big.”