Crosby

After more than 55 years in the music industry, David Crosby is still actively touring and creating music. He’s put out three albums in the last four years, and the tour he is currently on will land him in Aspen at the Belly Up this Sunday, Sept. 15.

Crosby was a founding member of The Byrds in 1964, and when they covered “Mr. Tambourine Man” it gave Bob Dylan his first No. 1 hit a year later. In 1967, he joined Buffalo Springfield on a stage and was dismissed from The Byrds, which consequently formed Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1968 (Stills from Buffalo Springfield and Nash from the Hollies). This supergroup won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1969. Then, Neil Young started playing with them for live performances, the second of which was Woodstock.

CSN recorded three gold albums in the 1970s and CSNY reunions have taken place each decade since. Crosby is known for his alternative guitar tunings and jazz influences. As a solo musician he has released six albums, five of which have charted. His work with The Byrds and CSN has sold over 35 million albums, and both bands have placed him in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is politically minded and is considered a symbol of 1960s counterculture.

Earlier this year, Crosby was the subject of a documentary produced by Cameron Crowe called “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” The documentary chronicles Crosby’s life from the beginning. It starts with his childhood before diving into stories of heroin and cocaine addictions, followed by his nine-month stint in a Texas prison for drugs and weapon charges. It covers the last-minute liver transplant that saved his life in 1994, and allowed him to keep making music for many years.

“Sky Trails” is his newest album, taking him in a different direction that involves a full band and profound, soulful jams. Crosby will be joined on the stage in Aspen by five musical friends, collectively known as the “Sky Trails Band” — James Raymond on keys, Mai Leisz on bass, Steve DiStanislao on drums, Jeff Pevar on guitar and Michelle Willis on keyboards and vocals.

James Raymond and Crosby have a strange history as collaborating musicians; Crosby is Raymond’s biological father. Crosby and a woman he refuses to name had a boy in the ’60s and immediately gave him up for adoption. After growing up in California and becoming a successful musician on his own, Raymond decided to seek out his birth parents when he was 30. When he saw David Crosby on his birth certificate he didn’t think it was “the” David Crosby, but it was. Both musicians have been playing together since the mid-’90s and consider their relationship more brotherly than father-son.

At 78, Crosby is as engaged in the creative process and as energized on stage as ever. He has reinvigorated himself by surrounding himself with like-minded and talented musicians. He says on his website, “All the people in the Sky Trails Band are much younger than me, so I have to paddle faster to keep up.”

As a folk rock legend, Crosby has created songs that have become cultural benchmarks for more than three generations. He has served as a social conscience, writing about social issues and donating concert proceeds. His influence remains unyielding and strong, as he continues to summarize the character of our time.

Wordlessly watching, John Zelazny waits by the window and wonders at the empty place inside. He appreciates your comments at zelazny@aspendailynews.com.