A Song Story #8: "Vagrants of Venice" - Lighthouse Band

Washington DC -

Lighthouse Band is about to start a fall tour in Seattle in a few days. I’m not referring to the 1970s Canadian rock/jazz-fusion ensemble that catapulted the charts with the hard-driving number, “One Fine Morning.”

Rather, the focus here is on a terrific folk-rock quartet featuring Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Snarky Puppy bandleader and three-time Grammy-winner Michael League. Oh, the fourth member of Lighthouse Band is a guy named David Crosby. Croz recognizes the importance of creating with, listening to and otherwise honoring young people. Doing so helps him stay vital, refreshed and infused with new ideas, which is a lesson for us all. Stevens, Willis and League - each roughly 40 years Crosby’s juniors - do just that for the maestro.

Their new album “Here if You Listen” was recorded in New Orleans in just eight days. It was produced by League who also serves as Lighthouse’s musical director. The album certainly evokes CSN&Y’s singer-songwriter, four-part harmonies, though it’s an ethereal, light-folk work, sparse and even haunting in its presentation and with no rock sensibility whatsoever.

I like the song, “Vagrants of Venice” (below), which speaks to life in an environmental post-apocalyptic Venice 100 years from now. Written by Stevens, the tune showcases the band’s soaring harmonies and reminds us of Crosby’s rich timbre. I also marvel at the harmonies on display in the band’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock.” It’s the best interpretation of that song I’ve ever heard, including the Joni and CSN&Y versions.