Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

For Free

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It has been a while since I became enamored with an entire album of recorded songs by a particular artist. With everything coming at us in streaming form these days, listening to a complete album seems a little archaic. Doing so throws me back to my days working in a record store and devouring music on vinyl LPs, one side at a time.

This month I was lucky to stumble upon news of David Crosby releasing his latest effort, titled “For Free.” I navigated to my Apple Music account for a listen and a day later found myself replaying the chorus of the opening song in my head as a pleasing earworm. I always take this as a good sign when I’m not yet familiar with a song but my mind is already hooked on a part of it.

Very often the song that does this for me aligns with the eventual “hit” song that ends up achieving radio play and wide popularity, but not always since my tastes are a little broader than average.

That pleasant looping refrain in my brain usually leads me to follow-up listening sessions and with “For Free,” doing so quickly hooked me on multiple cuts. I’m a fan of most music David Crosby has created and thoroughly enjoy the sound of his singing.

One aspect of his vocal sound on this album impressed me for the way it belies his age. David is almost 80 and can still sing like his younger self. At the same time, I detected occasional words with a pronunciation that hinted he’s not 29 anymore, but instead of that being an unpleasant aspect, I’m finding it more endearing and intimate when it occurs.

The lyrics are engaging, the musicianship inspiring, and David’s familiar singing voice a true gift to the ears.

His collaboration with Sarah Jarosz on the title track cover of Joni Mitchell’s song is a gem and provided my first introduction to her artistry. I’ll be exploring her recordings in the near future, for sure.

Several places throughout multiple songs I found myself enthused with the enticing momentum provided by a pleasing bass and drumset energy, for which I assume Crosby’s son James Raymond deserves credit as album producer.

I’m consuming this album in numerical order from beginning to end, on repeat. If you are a music fan with any appreciation for David Crosby, I invite you to give the whole album a full listen.

The old man turns 80 in August, for heaven’s sake. Everyone should hear what he is still doing at this age.

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