If Jason Crosby’s name isn’t immediately familiar, his keyboard/violin/guitar playing most likely is. The multi-instrumental virtuoso has toured and recorded with a who’s who of legendary artists, including Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Pete Seeger, Dave Matthews, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Robert Randolph, and Susan Tedeschi among others. He’s graced the stages of the world’s biggest festivals and appeared on television everywhere from The Tonight Show and Austin City Limits to Jools Holland and the GRAMMY Awards, where he played keyboard in the tribute to Funk with Outkast, the original P-Funk, and Earth, Wind and Fire. Upon landing in California, he took up gigs with Jackie Greene, The Mother Hips, John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring, and Grateful Dead icons Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, and he soon discovered an audience hungry for the original material he’d begun crafting during his hiatus from the road.
“When I was living in New York, I was playing for tips at the Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall and burning through my savings from all those years as a sideman,” Crosby remembers. “But California embraced me as an artist. I started playing with Phil and Bob and doing my own shows at their clubs, and pretty quickly I was selling hundreds of tickets myself as a headliner.”
When Crosby met Blue Rose Music founder Joe Poletto, it felt like a sign from the universe that the time had arrived to take the plunge and record his first album as a singer/songwriter. Crosby headed into the Stinson Beach studio of producer/engineer Karl Derfler (Tom Waits, Dave Matthews) for two whirlwind sessions, each capturing a different side of his musical personality. The first, conducted in the spring of 2016, featured Crosby playing roughly a dozen different instruments, deliberately crafting each song from the ground up by himself with an ambient, compellingly visual quality. The second session, a more raw and reckless affair that went down just a few months later, tapped into the wild and collaborative spirit of rock and roll that’s always flowed through Crosby’s veins, as he captured a new batch of songs (co-written with Tim Bluhm) live in the studio with The Mother Hips as his backing band.
Richly cinematic and enchantingly playful, the resulting album reveals Crosby to be not only an unparalleled instrumentalist, but also a supremely talented songwriter.