“It's still pretty fresh. I'm still fresh blood. The dream's still somewhat alive,” says singer-songwriter Jeff Crosby, who moved to Los Angeles six months ago from his native Idaho.
The Bulletin caught up with Crosby by phone Monday morning, which is a tough day for anyone, but perhaps no one more than touring musicians. The evening before, he and his three-piece band, The Refugees, had played the Dixie Mattress Festival in Happy Valley, opening for friend Jerry Joseph and his band, The Jackmormons.
“We're kind of recovering. We just played this festival and we're kind of crawling away from it,” Crosby said, sounding no worse for the wear.
He should be in full recovery by the time he plays tonight at Common Table (see “If you go”).
Crosby grew up in Donnelly, Idaho, a tiny mountain town about 90 miles north of Boise, and learned to play guitar at age 16, when he began playing with older guys in their 30s and 40s around Donnelly-area porches, decks and other outdoor surfaces in a band called Frame of Mind.
“When I first started, I was pretty much playing a lot of traditional folk, and picking on the back porches with the good ol' boys,” he said.
“I was kind of the young buck,” Crosby said. “They took me under their wing, and I started playing with them, and they introduced me to the magic of the whole thing.”
A longtime writer of poetry, he began writing his own songs at age 16 as well. “All of a sudden, it kind of all just happened,” he said. At about age 19, Crosby moved to Boise for a while and became the front man of the jam-rock band Equaleyes, with whom he toured “like a fiend,” according to his online bio.
The 25-year-old describes his sound as a solo artist: “It's definitely come back to more of a rootsy Americana, folkie (style). There was definitely a good dose of rock 'n' roll in the middle of all that, but it's definitely come full circle to that,” he said.
Performer Magazine called his 2011 self-titled album “The right addition to any singer-songwriter fan's collection.”
Crosby cites Stephen Stills, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young as influences, but you may hear other singer-songwriters such as Ryan Adams (the good stuff) in there as well. There are tasteful solos and pleasing melodies to his sunny songs, the kind you want to learn the words to so you can sing along.
If Crosby writes bad songs, he hasn't posted any at www.jeffcrosbymusic.com, where you can preview seven of his tunes.
Moving to L.A. “has been pretty crazy,” but Crosby has also been quick to adjust to life in the proverbial big city, he said.
“We've got some good friends down there, and our agenda's pretty set. We've gotten to do some good gigs down there, and seen a lot of great music and met a lot of great players. I think it's just really inspiring to be in a place where there's (so much) of some of my favorite music.”
Crosby, who has a new five-song EP due out in July, said he hasn't played Bend in the past and adds that he looks forward to tonight's show due to the number of friends he has in the area.
“This recent touring with The Refugees has been about fleshing out these new tunes and testing them out on the road, seeing how people react to them. The response has been really positive,” he said.
“Come on out, man. If you like good Pacific Northwest-inspired music, then you'll like what we're doing.”