Jeff Pevar played in different groups over period of decades with the rock legend, who died Jan. 18
By Art Van Kraft for Ashland.news
As the music world mourns the loss of David Crosby, 81, on Jan. 18, one Ashland musician says the loss was deeply personal. Jeff Pevar was a longtime friend who played guitar in Crosby’s bands for more than three decades. The two met during what Pevar called the Renaissance of music.
“Crosby, Stills and Nash were just so influential to us and was a catalyst for me learning to play guitar. It was folk music meets rock music,” Pevar said.
Pevar began performing professionally and eventually was approached by Crosby and Graham Nash and was asked to join their duo.
“It was an absolutely incredible experience to be a fan of this music and all of a sudden be on stage with them. I saw a spark in him because he recognized my ability to play multiple styles and play music in a concert performance, music I’d never heard before. We struck up a very strong connection,” Pevar said.
Things changed when Crosby got a surprise visit from son whom he never knew about. The son, James Raymond, a child by someone he’d been in a relationship with in his twenties, was also a musician.
“David approached me and said the kid was a very good musician and would I like to form a band with the two of them? So the band CPR — Crosby Pevar and Raymond — was formed in 1998. There was a lot of symbiotic chemistry that happened. I’m most proud of the chance I had to write songs with the two of them,” Pevar said.
“David and I had a very unique relationship. He is a moment-to-moment kind of guy. One of the things I loved about David is he was such an excitable character. He had stars in his eyes. He loved to push boundaries and in the last 10 to 20 years of his life, he pushed on and kept recreating himself. He just kept on moving forward,” Pevar said.
Crosby approached Pevar again over a decade later and asked him to join yet another band, this one called Skytrails. The group went on a reunion tour of the United States and Europe in 2017 and then again in 2019. Others were planned, but COVID-19 put an end to that, Pevar said.
“That was a beautiful opportunity for us to do music again. After a performance I did, David put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Jeff, we tried for years to find someone to fill your shoes and there just ain’t one.'”
“His passing affects me deeply. I just found a voicemail he left me about six months ago. David said ‘Pev, I was just listening to our music, and I just got to tell you, you are an incredible musician, I love you, I just want you to know you did such a great job on our music.’”
“I heard this (phone) message the day after he died. It had been on my phone but I forgot to open it. I was feeling so horrible after the news that he passed and I listened to this and I felt he was trying to leave it from beyond, just to kind of let me know how much he cared about me,” Pevar said.
Art Van Kraft is an artist living in Ashland and a former broadcast journalist and news director of a Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate. Email him at email@example.com.