I Won’t Stay For Long

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3i8CRuw

YouTube: https://bit.ly/3l6OzYp

Streaming is the best thing that ever happened to David Crosby because with the magic of a click, the movement of a finger, you can hear his exquisite new track “I Won’t Stay for Long.”

This guy has a terrible reputation. As someone who won’t play by the rules. You know the rules, don’t you? You hold your tongue, are humble and self-deprecating because the key to life is getting along and using the ensuing relationships to your advantage.

But not David Crosby. He can’t hold his tongue. After all these years he’s incorrigible, he told me he can’t help himself. Then again, when you’re almost eighty years old are you really interested in changing?

That’s right, August 14th. And Crosby looks it. Which is refreshing. He’s got those two shocks of white hair stumbling out of the sides of his head, he’s had no plastic surgery, up close and personal he’s got liver spots, but beneath the skin he’s an authentic artist.

Who is difficult.

Then again, the greatest artists always are. They’ve got to do it their way, they need to get their art down unfiltered, and if you create people are always telling you how to do it, but the artist knows best. Oh, you can shave off the rough edges for commercial success, but that’s not Crosby’s goal in recording, he hears songs in his head and he’s got to get them down.

And are you paying attention?

Probably not. The story is all about his wars with Neil Young and Graham Nash. He’s in a bind re Neil, having dissed his now wife Daryl Hannah. This is a friend dilemma. Do you tell them about your experience or squelch your thoughts? And the truth is love is always the strongest bond. Think of all the acts that break up based on love relationships, and then there are divorces and the act is back together (can you say Guns N’ Roses?)

Not that I want to apologize for Crosby. He’s every bit as difficult as the legend. If he doesn’t want to talk about something he locks eyes and intimidates you. You can argue or change the subject to what he wants to talk about. Which is his just released new album “For Free.”


We’ve heard this mantra again and again, my latest work is my best, I’m at my peak, and then you listen to the music, scratch your head and stop listening. Hell, you can count on two hands the great work done by classic rock artists in the twenty first century. But David Crosby’s “For Free” is one of them. It’s not perfect throughout, some tracks resonate more than others, but “I Won’t Stay for Long” is just as good as he says it is.

The music Crosby is making is out of time, or perfectly in time, depending upon your perspective. It’s only about the music, Crosby ain’t a brand, no corporation wants to tie up with this guy and Crosby probably wouldn’t take the money anyway. Then again, you get old enough and you’re no longer worried about credibility, you come to realize you’re not going to be here forever, you’re going to be forgotten so…

So if you throw off all the trappings, all the expectations, maybe you have a chance of achieving something great, grasping the brass rail once again.

Then again, Crosby still has his voice, he sounds as good as ever, whereas seemingly everybody else’s voice has suffered the ravages of age, there’s been attrition.

And Crosby has one of the sweetest voices ever, in an era that doesn’t even consider melody, where subtlety is sacrificed, it’s all about being in your face grabbing for attention, but that’s not what Crosby is doing on “I Won’t Stay for Long,” on the entire new album “For Free.” You should be able to drop the needle and be drawn in, the music should be enough to not only gain your attention but keep it, no dancing, no diversion should be necessary, the track should stand on its lonesome, and if it’s great you don’t want to lose the mood it’s created, you want to hear it again and again.

This is not what we expected. As a matter of fact, we expect nothing from our classic rock faves other than to get on stage and play the hits of yore. They’re living jukeboxes, some acts don’t even have any original members, it’s about the songs, but one thing is for sure “For Free” is about David Crosby.

And this ain’t Crosby, Stills & Nash, never mind Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or Crosby & Nash, it’s just David Crosby, previously seen as the weakest link he’s now triumphing. It’s all him.

So he told me he’s too old to go back on the road, it’s just too difficult. Who knows if this will be the case once covid fully fades. Oh yes, he’s been vaccinated, because one thing is for sure, David Crosby is smart and he’s not afraid of owning his position, vocalizing it. There are those sixties values, he’s not afraid of losing fans, he’s not running a business, he’s creating art!

You can tell from the opening track, “River Rise,” with its optimism, never mind the Michael McDonald vocals.

And “Rodriguez for a Night” is the new Steely Dan track you’ve been waiting to hear that has not been forthcoming, yes, the lyrics were written by Donald Fagen, but it’s not only the words but the groove, the instrumentation, “Rodriguez for a Night” hearkens back to that sound that stood alone, and still does.

But really it’s all about the closing cut, “I Won’t Stay for Long.”

“I’m standing on the porch

Like it’s the edge of a cliff”

Crosby is up front and center. He’s at the school assembly, doing a solo. Captivating the audience, enthralling them, especially when his voice goes up, when he hits the higher notes with emphasis.

“I’ve got a place of my own

A little slice”

It’s all personal. We’re always looking for connection, we only need one person, but we live inside our brains and oftentimes it’s only music that has a chance of resonating, can make us feel less alone, because it’s human, it breathes, it reflects life.

“I just need to be close today

I need to be with you today”

That’s what our music represented. Far different from what is being sold today. The artists stood apart, from the establishment and corporations, they were middle class denizens looking at the world for themselves and dropping their wisdom upon the rest of us. The music was our school and compass. We followed it, we needed to get closer, that’s why all those people went to Woodstock, why all those people needed to go to shows, to get closer!

And if you can remember those days, and fewer and fewer of us can, you’re on the edge of the abyss. So much of what you put faith in is unsatisfying, nearly worthless, possessions, he with the most toys does not win. Only a record can get us through, if only there were a new record.

“I don’t know if I’m dying or about to be born”

You get old enough and no one cares what you think, even though you’ve gathered so much wisdom. You want to feel so alive, but so many of your contemporaries have surrendered, they’re nearly dead, in spirit if not body.

So I know you’ve given up on new music. And if you look at the anemic physical album sales you know that it’s not only oldsters who have given up. Do you really want to lay down ten bucks plus for a CD with nowhere to play it, never mind not wanting to ultimately listen to it, it being so inferior to what came before, what you remember.

Which is why streaming is such a bonus. Crosby won’t make any real dough on YouTube or Spotify, but he can be heard, and that’s what an artist really wants, for people to experience their art, which is why if you’re an artist beware of paywalls.

So now it costs you nothing to listen to David Crosby’s “I Won’t Stay for Long,” you’ve only got to click.

And you should.

And you will tell everybody you know about it, because it’s more than refreshing, it’s manna from heaven.

Check it out.

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