For Crosby Loggins, what’s past is prologue. With Time To Move, his debut Jive Records release, Loggins draws on a unique personal and musical history to forge a statement that places his intimate voice front and center.
After several years of leading the jazzier, funk-inflected Crosby Loggins and the Light, the songwriter opted for tighter editing and sharper focus on Time To Move. Its ten songs exude the warmth of mid-70s singer-songwriter LPs, retaining a comfortable, well-worn feel without seeming aggressively retro.
Growing up around musicians gave Loggins a sense of personal perspective while shaping his tastes. The son of chart-topping artist Kenny Loggins, Crosby enjoyed early exposure to his father’s peers and friends, including Jackson Browne and Michael McDonald, at the family home in Santa Barbara, CA. “There were no direct mentorships,” he says, “but I learned as much from their personalities as I did from their talents. I remember Michael McDonald being really grounded, and Jackson Browne had a soul-searching calm.”
On Time To Move, Loggins chose to work with producer John Alagia in seeking a more handmade sound that still avoided the potential trap of throwback purism. With a backing band that included Loggins’ longtime friend and collaborator, guitarist Jesse Siebenberg, veteran drummer Matt Chamberlain, and session wunderkinds bassist Sean Hurley and keyboardist Zach Gray, Loggins and Alagia sought something comparable to an updated version of The Section, which backed Seventies stars like Browne and James Taylor.
Their basic tracks, cut in less than three days’ time, allowed plenty of room for Loggins’ sweeping, dulcet vocal melodies that are a hallmark of Time To Move. “We wanted to jump back and focus on the singer and the song, and make something that would be more reproducible on an acoustic guitar without an ensemble,” Loggins says. In doing so, Time To Move emphasizes lyrical stories steeped in autobiography. “I’ve lived every moment on this record, in some way or other,” says Loggins, “although I still know how to have fun with a song and write through characters.” The songs run the gamut from complicated relationships (“Seriously”) to optimistic ones (“Only One”), from frustration and self-doubt (“Good Enough”) to carefree cruising down a desert highway (“Radio Heart”).
“I’ve been trying to write more lighthearted songs, but I often still include a lot of dark things within them.” Loggins says. “I like putting dark verses in uplifting songs, but that can sometimes confuse the listener.” Fellow songwriter Brett Dennen served as his sounding board, editor and co-writer as Time To Move came together. “He really helped me to remember the power of a concise song that stays on topic,” says Loggins.
Though focused and succinct, Time To Move derives much of its character from a variety of flourishes, including a guitar solo on the title track from John Mayer. “He popped in from a neighboring studio as we were working on the solo. We said, ‘Why don’t you take a pass at this one?’ He ended up taking five or six.” Elsewhere, Loggins’ longtime bandmate Dennis Hamm delivers a barrelhouse piano solo on “You Want To Be With Me,” while “Radio Heart” incorporates a Farfisa organ part reminiscent of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding?”
The album even includes an extended outro jam on the high-stepping “Heaven Help Me,” which Loggins says was meant to reflect the looser vibe of his earlier work: “It’s more like how we used to make music.” Poised atop a groove built around a simple acoustic guitar lick, the lyric is among the album’s most troubled, as its narrator faces evaporating self-confidence. “I think my generation has grown up more conscious and aware of ourselves, but we’re still human,” he explains. “We have so much more information available to us, but we can still blow it.”
Indeed, Loggins hasn’t always been comfortable with certain aspects of having a famous name. His participation in the MTV reality show Rock the Cradle, which pitted offspring of musicians against one another, was admittedly reluctant, although he wound up winning the contest. The lyrics of “Good Enough” discuss the challenges of living up to high standards: “Can’t fill the shoes that somebody else wore/They’ll never fit, they don’t belong to me.”
As surely as Loggins’ songs draw strength from their structural simplicity, their open sonic spaces allow his emotionally honest lyrics to resonate within them. Through its tempestuous and tender moments, Time To Move showcases a complex artist whose pared-down songs reveal a voice that’s all his own.