David Crosby: The musical storyteller

1960s folk and pop music icon returns to Okanagan tomorrow for a concert at Kelowna Community Theatre.

David Crosby

David Crosby says he likes songs that tell a story. He wants the listener to be involved.

The legendary U.S. singer-songwriter is a two-time member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with seminal bands The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, a four-time member of the Grammy Hall of Fame and a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Crosby will bring his music storytelling to the stage Wednesday (Sept. 14) for a concert at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Playing an acoustic set with his son, James Raymond, and guitarist Jeff Pevar, Crosby’s show will include songs he has penned in the past — including hits from his days with The Byrds and CS&N — as well as songs from his new album, Lighthouse, his first new solo album in 23 years.

Listening to Lighthouse, it’s easy to hear the same type of harmonies that made CS&N famous, starting with their breakout performance at Woodstock in 1969.

Today, the 75-year-old Californian says he’s OK with an expectation he will play songs from more than 40 years ago because he usually includes a number of them in his sets.

“I tend to play smaller places, with smaller crowds who know those songs pretty well,” said the laid-back-sounding Crosby. “But touring is tough, man—you don’t get much sleep, you eat crappy food and you’re away from home for long stretches. But those few hours on stage, they make it worth it.”

For Crosby, it’s all about the music.

With a career spanning more than 50 years and a catalogue of thousands of songs penned over that period, including Lady Friend, Why and Eight Miles High with The Byrds and Guinnevere, Wooden Ships, Shadow Captain and In My Dreams with CS&N, Crosby says what brought him back into the studio to record Lighthouse was a mixture of having plenty of new material at hand and being at a happy place in his life right now.

“This is about the songs,” he says. “The tale-telling. Taking you on a voyage to my world for a moment.”

Crosby wanted the sound of Lighthouse to be reminiscent of his first solo album, the 1971 release, If Only I Could Remember My Name.

While music remains a huge part of Crosby’s life, it is not the only thing about him. He is also an author and a social activist, having done extensive work with groups such as Human Rights Watch and M.U.S.E., as well as countless other organizations.

So it’s not surprising he has definite opinions about the current state of political affairs in the U.S.

A dyed-in-the-wool Liberal, he says he’s familiar with this part of Canada having driven through the Okanagan once on his way from Banff to Vancouver and liked what he saw.

“And if (U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald) Trump gets in, I may have to move there,” he says with what sounds like only a hint of a laugh.