David Crosby

Thousand Roads

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David Crosby, the reluctant solo artist, made his first solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, with an all-star guest list, then waited 18 years to make another. For his third solo album, Thousand Roads, Crosby increased the participation of his guests and attempted to redefine himself as an artist. Where previously, whoever was playing or singing on the track, the song was a Crosby composition, on Thousand Roads Crosby acted primarily as an interpretive singer, penning only one of the 10 songs and contributing to two others. He also brought in eight people to help produce the album, as if this were a Whitney Houston project on which every song was a potential single. The result certainly was a craftsman-like set of songs written by pop professionals -- Phil Collins, Jimmy Webb, Marc Cohn, John Hiatt, Paul Brady, Stephen Bishop -- and produced by the cream of pop producers -- Don Was, Glyn Johns, Phil Ramone. The failings were, first, that Crosby's individuality was lost and, second, that, as the list suggests, his choices were more calculated than inspired. The problem with David Crosby as a solo artist was not how to make him sound more conventional, it was how to make his unconventionality work. Thousand Roads solved the wrong problem, and though Crosby's collaboration with Phil Collins, "Hero," rode halfway up the singles charts (and high into the easy listening lists) largely on Collins's fame and the lyric's winking references to Crosby's jail time, the album was Crosby's least successful in the record stores.

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