Nashville-based Singer-songwriter Jeff Crosby's newest rural case study takes place in a less likely spot in between the West Coast's creative hotbeds and rural New York. "Hold This Town Together," the latest track to premiere off new album Northstar (out April 24), whisks listeners to the mountain town in Idaho where Crosby grew up around less than 100 people.
"'Hold This Town Together' is about people I grew up with in my hometown, Donnelly, Idaho, and I guess the realization of how much impact they'd had on my life the more time I spent away," Crosby says. "It's also about just going home and seeing all your old friends, catching up and getting into the same old trouble we all used to when we were kids. I wrote the song with my friend Micky Braun from Micky and The Motorcars (who's also from Idaho) and we agreed we needed a song that mentions Salmon River Quiver, which is a legendary strain of marijuana grown on the banks of the Salmon River in Idaho."
Take away its Gem State setting, and you've got a totally relatable Americana song about reliving more mischievous times.
"We wrote it on in a trip to Boston to write with Micky which ultimately was just us drinking copious amounts of wine and bar hopping, but we got a great batch of tunes from the trip," Crosby adds. "This one was fun as hell to write as we were going through dumb stuff we did growing up in Idaho and all the characters involved. There could've been 10 verses on this song but we settled on three."
Jeff Crosby & The Refugees sound like they're thumbing through a personal diary: a sense felt when listening to some of the great troubadours to come of age in the '70s.
"I was listening to a ton of Guy Clark and John Prine during these writing sessions, and I really love how they drop so many specific names all the time (which I've always been told you shouldn't do by other songwriters and never believed it) but also as far as the recording I was obsessed with this Delbert McClinton album 'Let the Good Times Roll'and wanted to have some tunes with a nice pocket that would be fun to play live," Crosby says. "That album just sounds like a band having a blast and jamming around on the tunes. Tried to keep that in mind with this album."
Crosby, a former side musician for Widespread Panic songwriter Jerry Joseph, has shone in live music settings over the years as a supporting act for the likes of Lukas Nelson, Nikki Lane and Ray Wylie Hubbard.
As a recording artist, his luck turned during his days living in a shoebox apartment in Los Angeles when a chance encounter landed his music in the series Sons of Anarchy.
Northstar was produced by Gregg Williams (Sheryl Crow, The Dandy Warhols) with assists by Geoff Piller and Jonathan Tyler.