New solo album from the guitarist and songwriter of Buffalo Springfield as well as Crosby Stills & Nash (and Young), his first in more than a decade. Among the 13 tracks is a duet with good friend Neil Young. Titan. 2005.
While Man Alive!
may not be the quintessential Stephen Stills album, the venerable singer-songwriter nevertheless enters his sixth decade with passion and fire. Stills has always done his best, most convincing work on the acoustic guitar, and the wood-and-steel material here proves no exception. On "Different Man" (with Neil Young) and "Piece of Me," he draws on his southern roots and demonstrates his uncanny knack for soulful blues. That soulfulness carries over to much of the electric material, whether the danceable, B-3-driven "Around Us," the achingly good "Ole Man Trouble," or the Zydeco-inflected "Acadienne," on which Stills sounds positively loose and unusually comfortable. Some material doesn't work as well"Drivin' Thunder" (cowritten with Young) suffers from production that's more in tune with 1985 than 2005, and neither "Round the Bend" nor "I Don't Get It" shines with the full-blown brilliance that the artist clearly remains capable of. Still, this sometimes-flawed endeavor is a more-than-welcome return from one of rock's great, underrepresented treasures. --Jedd Beaudoin