Folk-rock legend David Crosby ready to have fun in Burlington
Though he’s long been known for his outspoken political views, folk-rock legend David Crosby says fans attending Tuesday’s show at the Flynn Center shouldn’t expect to hear much about those views.
“Our job essentially is to bring music and make you boogie and take emotional voyages,” Crosby told the Burlington Free Press in a phone conversation this month from Seattle. “Every now and then our job is to do what it originally was, as town criers and troubadours.”
If he sees America killing children, Crosby said, he sings “Ohio,” the song Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young created to protest the 1970 Kent State killings. “I don’t think we should do it all the time. We should do it when stuff confronts us that is too large to ignore,” Crosby said of singing political material. “Music is a great vehicle for transmitting ideas, and ideas are the most powerful thing on the planet.”
Crosby and his band on Tuesday will perform hits from his long career as well as a fair amount of material from their upcoming album, “Sky Trails.” Crosby’s new songs include “Capitol,” which takes a critical look at Congress. (“They run the whole damn thing from here,” Crosby sings.) Congress, Crosby said, “steals money” and has the lowest approval ratings in history.
“They truly deserve much worse than I said” in the song, according to Crosby, who supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in last year’s Democratic presidential race. “It’s hard to say in a song that 97 percent of Congress should be welded into a box and dropped into the Potomac.”
Bon mots such as that aside, Crosby said he’s in a good place these days. He has fought well-publicized health battles, including drug and alcohol problems and a liver transplant.
“I’m very happy, which affects your health a tremendous amount,” Crosby said. “The road is very tough and I don’t have the stamina I used to have, so it’s hard on me, but the two and a half hours we do while we’re playing are just a complete joy. It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”
Fun keeps him playing at age 75. “That’s why I left CSN,” he said of his departure from Crosby, Stills & Nash. “It had devolved to ‘just put on the smoke machine and play your hits.’ That’s not enough.”
His current band, which includes his son, keyboard player James Raymond, is enough for Crosby, he said. The night before he spoke with the Free Press, he said, the band played in Portland, Oregon, where a high-energy crowd stood and celebrated all night.
“We came out just gob-smacked,” Crosby said, “stunned that we could have that much fun.”