David Crosby Had Several Albums in the Works Before His Death
David Crosby had no shortage of projects in the works when he died this week at 81 — and his late-period prolific streak wasn't a coincidence.
"I've been making records at a startling rate. I've made five albums in six, seven years. It’s an absurd rate to be cranking albums out," the rocker told a Golden High School journalism class last year. "The reason being is that I'm gonna die."
The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash co-founder was keenly aware of his mortality, which motivated him to keep releasing new music. "Everybody dies. I'm sure someone told you. And I want to crank out all the music I possibly can before I do," he added. "Now, I'm 80 years old, so I'm gonna die fairly soon. That's how that works. And so I'm trying really hard to crank out as much music as I possibly can, as long as it's really good."
Crosby issued his most recent solo album, For Free, in July 2021. Before that, he showcased his Lighthouse Band (featuring Michael League, Becca Stevens and Michelle Willis) on 2018's Here If You Listen. The troupe released the Live at the Capitol Theatre CD/DVD set, Crosby's first-ever live album, in late 2022. Crosby also worked with more than a dozen collaborators — including his son, multi-instrumentalist and producer James Raymond — on 2017's Sky Trails.
That's a lot of music to release six decades into one's career, but Crosby still had plenty left in the tank.
"I have another Lighthouse Band studio record finished, mixed and mastered," the octogenarian told UCR in December 2022. "It's ready to release already. And I'm two songs into another Sky Trails band record with my son, James. I'm three songs into another Lighthouse record after this one, but I have an entire one that you haven't heard."
In addition to his solo records, Crosby's contributions are set to appear on a forthcoming compilation curated by his estranged former bandmate Graham Nash. The archival collection, which does not yet have a title or release date, will feature Nash and Crosby singing vocal harmonies with several of their musical contemporaries, including Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Carole King. (Nash said the record has been in progress for about five years and was quick to note that it wouldn't have signaled a reunion with Crosby.)
Crosby's myriad studio projects came instead of live performances, from which he had ostensibly retired, having played his last show in 2019. "It's possible that I could teach my guitar parts to somebody else. I can't play well enough anymore," he told UCR last year. "I've got tendonitis in both hands. I can't play well enough for my standards on stage. I could probably get away with it and you'd probably like it, but it’s not good enough for me. It's possible I might do a residency someplace. We'll see."
Yet even Crosby's retirement from the stage seemed subject to change. Just last week, the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif., announced "An Evening With David Crosby & Friends," featuring special guest Bruce Cockburn, along with Raymond, Chris Stills (son of CSN's Stephen Stills) and several other regular collaborators. Crosby seemingly hinted at the ensemble show in December when he tweeted, "So I played with some friends the day before yesterday and spent today [singing] with two really good friends, and ... hmmmmmm ... dare I say it? I think I'm starting yet another band and going back out to play live..."
Then again, given his track record, Croz could just as well have been planning to launch another new, late-in-life project.