It was revealed yesterday (January 19) that David Crosby had died at 81 years old. Naturally, admirers are now looking back on the music legend’s career, including Jason Isbell, who was part of what is now a major Crosby moment: On February 26, 2022, Crosby made a guest appearance during Isbell’s show at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. It was Crosby’s first concert performance since 2019 and it ended up being his final one ever. During his time on stage, Crosby harmonized on Isbell’s “What’ve I Done To Help” and performed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio.”
Isbell spoke about the moment with Rolling Stone, saying:
“What got him out of the house and to the show was that he wanted to come see his buddies. And it would have been silly for him to come and not sing. […] That was the last time I saw him. At that time, he didn’t think he was going to be able to do any more touring. He was having trouble with his hands for a long time and getting to the point where it was hard for him to play. I think that had caused him to resign himself to not be able to do any more live shows, but recently I think he was feeling a little more optimistic about it. He was still writing and recording a whole lot and finished another record from what I understand.”
He also spoke about Crosby more generally: “Rule No. 1 for David was to be honest. So if he complimented you, it wasn’t bullsh*t. He was somebody who would challenge even the greatest of his peers, be it Neil [Young] or Joni [Mitchell]. He would challenge them to go somewhere that wasn’t comfortable for them musically. If he got bored with the way a guitar sounded, he’d tune a different tuning that nobody had ever tried before. If he got bored with a harmony part, he’d sing a note nobody expected. He’d sing and if he was out of tune, he’d fix it as quickly as possible, but he trusted his ability to react. He did that on a personal, human level, too. He’d just tell the truth and deal with the outcome of it later.”
Watch Crosby, Isbell, and company perform “Ohio” above.