David Crosby was working on new music until the end. In an interview with Variety, guitarist Steve Postell said that the 81 year-old two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame veteran who died last week at 81 was talking about his new album on the day he died.
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“David didn’t think he was gonna last for years, which he joked about all the time. But there was no sense that we weren’t gonna be able to do this show and these tours,” Postell told Variety. “We were talking tour buses, and what kind of venues, and the whole team was all back together again — the road manager and tour manager and sound guys — on top of this band we’d put together. There was not even a remote sense that we weren’t about ready to hit the world. And it’s a shame people didn’t get to hear it. This was something else. This was as close to the original thing” — specifically, the original sound of Crosby, Stills and Nash — “as we were gonna get. It was very powerful.”
Postell had been speaking on the phone with Crosby near the end after taking part in an “intimate” rehearsal in Santa Barbara the week before Crosby died; that was the follow to a full-band rehearsal in mid-December at which Postell said Crosby seemed “practically giddy with all of it.” During the latter, Crosby reportedly showed his band some new songs, asking them what they thought of the lyrics and proving that he “hadn’t lost the fire. I’d like people to know that he was on it. He was writing, playing, singing his ass off and preparing a fantastic show. That’s what he was doing. He was not lying in a bed for two years, out of it. That’s not what happened at all.”
In a testament to Crosby’s enduring love of playing and writing, Postell said he was talking to the singer on the phone on Wednesday morning discussing plans for a two-night run in Santa Barbara at the Lobero Theatre in late February that they were considering recording for a live album; Crosby’s death was announced on Thursday (Jan. 19).
The shows would have been Crosby’s first live gigs since 2019 and after spending Wednesday afternoon rehearsing the full set list they’d worked out, Postell said he texted the singer with some ideas that night and got a return text from Crosby son and bandmate, James Raymond, that his dad had died.
Though Crosby was eager to get back on the road after announcing in 2022 that he was done performing live, Postell said the CSN star was having difficulty with arthritis in his hands and could still play, but it had “gotten harder and harder for him.”
Another musician who had been working with Crosby on new material, Texas singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, told Variety that she’d recorded some vocals remotely and sent them to James Raymond and that Raymond told her after his father’s death that Crosby had listened to the tapes and appreciated her work.
“I never got to actually be in the studio with him when I was recording those vocals,” Jarosz said. “But he and James had reached out to me about a month ago saying they were working on this new album, and he really wanted me to sing on a new song, ‘Talk Till Dawn.’ It had just been a few days since I sent the vocal off [before Crosby died], but the way James made it seem to me is that he did get to hear it before he passed, which is obviously extremely emotional for me. I guess the way that I would describe the song is quintessential David Crosby —interesting chord movement and just a beautiful, stunning vocal performance.”
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