by Robin Scott PetersMy buddy Larry, whom I have written about in past articles, I consider Guru of all that is music. Four weeks ago he gave me a gift of his newest acquisition. "Listen to this when you get in your truck, tell me what you think?" I sucked down the rest of my delicious Zinfandel, took the CD and read the writing in orange Sharpie: "David Crosby -"Croz." I looked up at Larry, shook my empty glass, and said "When did this come out?" In the clarity of a true Guru Larry flatly spat out: "Just." "I wonder what it sounds like?" "That's why I gave it to you?" "Yes, true...." I shook my glass again and he took it; and ushered me out the front door.
I jumped into the truck, red, Nissan Frontier. The base model. I roll up and down the windows, nothing electric on this baby. She doesn't have a name, the truck that is, but she is a dear friend. My home for four months at one point in the not too distant past. Trusted both in her ability to always run and for being the place that I have found solace away from the pounding as my family and marriage dissolved. Luckily, this base model home on wheels has a CD player and I slipped in my new tunes.
I am in the middle of a divorce. 29 years, 8 months of marriage, so says the divorce papers filed. Add 5 years of dating and a lifetime turns into some freakish form of.... I am still trying to figure out what to call it. During the inevitable contemplation of my culpability in the demise, I fall into time-warps. In these moments the intensity and multiplicity of thoughts and emotions bombard. The battle engaged, there are always casualties, me, myself and I included.
I want you dear Reader to take a moment, before I go on, and think about this: remember, go back to a moment when you were so astonished by a circumstance in your life, a moment when you were anticipating one thing and something completely opposite that expectation ensued. Intertwined with this moment of astonishment and reversal the added plus that what just "occurred" was exactly what you needed at that very moment in time. More succinct -- a life line arrives just as you are sinking. Maybe even more accurate is the simple desire of knowing someone can relate to one's exact circumstance. Sympathize....Empathize.
I give you, dear Reader, a peek into my personal dilemma because it is in that struggle David Crosby's new release "Croz" engaged me on a level so powerful I had to write about it, to tell you about my fabulous discovery. And though my experience and what I am about to share with you may or may not be what "Croz" intended, it is real and palpable and YOU--dear Reader-- need to engage this work of art.
I started my truck and the CD whirled and hissed for a quick moment as it found Track 1. And from that moment to this very moment as my fingers click, hover and rest over my laptop keyboard, five-plus weeks later I have not stopped listening. This work is resounding into my head. It tapped into the emotional chords plucked by the struggle I currently partake. I wake to the lyrics: "Who Wants To See An Abandoned Soul, Who Wants To Try And Open It, Who Wants [To] Know What Desperate Is, Who Wants To Buy What's Broken" I don't shrink away from them. I want this artistry to envelope me. No "Jingle" here. Not trying to shake the tune out of my head. No, this is like a salve injected directly into the liquid pain flowing through my veins. Literally one minute into the first song and those lyrics punched me right in the gut. "What's Broken" I found out weeks later is the name of the first piece. What's Broken? Me.
I threw my truck in drive and sped down the street, turned right and headed down the hill. I could see the lights of the town twinkling in front of me. The music taunting me "Looking Out On A Buzzing City, Molecules Go Flying By, Standing Here Is A Very Lost Disciple, How Could It Be That Angels Lie" Are you mocking me "Croz?" How is it that you can so easily reach into my soul and touch my most vulnerable state?
I realized I had been sitting at a stop sign listening to the second and third cut. I turned and pulled over. I called Larry. "Dude, this is a f%#king great album. I'm just three cuts in but it's already grabbed me. And it's nothing like I expected, you know all CSNY thing. The percussionist and drummer is outrageous and the production values are so clean and smooth and consistent I can't wait to hear the rest." Larry validating offered: "David is quoted saying this is his best work." "I really want my glass of wine listening to this." "You're fucking driving so drink coffee and enjoy the rest of the work." Just what a Guru should say. I accepted his advice, as most always I do.
I had a long drive 3.5 hours most of which was along curving mountain road. I've driven it countless times over 21 years. It's a road you just settle in on. Follow the speed limit and I don't have to touch my breaks, as if I am riding a great wave off the North Coast. I slipped the CD back in.
Song after song the perfect union of musicality and lyricism, and truth. Piece after piece it's a slap and a gouge and a stab and a kick and a punch and, and it seems as if all the darkness that living on this earth can force feed to a human is contained in the lyrics. The words burst into strong sense memory imagery--I can see what he is singing about. My personal struggle and loss, failure and disappointment, all captured in each and every piece:
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