CROWSONG
Reviews And Press
KPFA 94.1 FM "HEAR AND NOW" HOSTED BY DERK RICHARDSON

May 1st 2008

Crowsong performs live in the Hear & Now Led by guitarist Randy Clark, whose phenomenal chops bring echoes of Ry Cooder, Neil Young, Jeff Beck and Dick Dale into a riveting personalized style, the Bay Area's own Crowsong fashions a rootsy California folk-rock sound that twangs and soars, capturing both desert desolation and surf ecstasy. Tonight the band plays live in the KPFA studio, performing songs from its three recordings, including the recent double CD of songs and instrumentals, Shelter/Eternal.
Vintage Guitar
John Heidt
February 2008

Crowsong offers a couple of atmospheric new records that feature founder Randy Clark's guitar playing and interaction with band mates Joshua Zucker (bass) and Vince Littleton (drums). Here, they use one disc to highlight vocals,and songs with words, and another for instrumental tunes.

And no matter what music Clark sends at the listener, it's dominated by guitar that's tasty and full of chops.Shelter features cuts like "Peace In My Mind", with it's lyric about the old days, and guitar playing that's both stinging and elastic,a quality that is rare outside Neil Young.Folky rock tunes drive the first disc with cuts like "Anne Marie", which features great guitar sounds."Shadows Long Ago" is a rocker with a big, liquid sound. It's nice to hear a played who can conjure images with just a few notes.Clark's slide dominates cuts like "Life Under The Moon" and "Seven Crows".His vocals are heartfelt and earnest and, like his playing, make you believe in what he's doing.

Eternal is five cuts of guitar heaven; everything from surfin'/secret agent themes ("CattleCall" and "Western") to bluesy country("Companion Song") to vamps that turn out one interesting lick after another ("Mexican Summer").Songs and solos go on for great lengths of time, but don't feel like it.

Instead, they let the listener focus on how Clark and the boys simply make great music that soars and dips.
Reverb Central
Phil Dirt
February 2008

This is lush Surfadelic music in the grand tradition. If you're a fan of The Mermen or The Surf Kings, Eternal will likely get you going!
Guitarist Randy Clark of Crowsong makes waves in sea of surf music

San Francisco Chronicle
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Randy is a great improviser," says Kurtzrock, "something you always look for in a good jazz player and almost never see in a rock player...(Read Full Article)
ROOTSTIME
August, 2007
by Freddy Celis

On "Dark Comes Light":

"...simply blood chillingly good songs".
""Dark Comes Light" is a very serious album dominated by guitar-art with a capital G".
"Randy Clark from San Francisco is simply fantastic on this versatile, excellent album".

On "Western":

..."intoxicating beautiful"... ..."a universe of soulful, psychedelic "desert folk-core" music".

On "Shelter/Eternal":

" The energy that emanates from "Eternal" is so intense that it almost makes your heart stop..." ..."these CD's are little masterpieces."
"Very impressive stuff, that we strongly recommend".

On all three albums:

"DCL", "Western", "Shelter/Eternal" are full of Americana, roots rock and swampy blues. Randy Clark has a warm voice, and sings his songs in a pleasantly relaxed fashion. Add to that his magnificent guitar playing, and we can say that these CD's are little masterpieces. All the songs on these CD's are a cross-breed of blues, folk with jazz and country, a shot of Indian and a big dose of singer-songwriter. This mix of influences forges a very dynamic and personal sound. Clark's own dynamic playing guarantees swinging melodies that are both rootsy and rousing. Very impressive stuff, that we strongly recommend.
Relix Magazine, June, 2003

Flying High

Crowsong is a highly accomplished trio led by multi-instrumentalist and master slide guitarist Randy Clark. After a largely instrumental debut, they've expanded their sound to include vocals and more textures. Think Ry Cooder meets Neil Young and Crazy Horse with an alt-country/blues penchant and a tad of Bob Dylan thrown in for good measure. The ragged vocals have an endearing quality while the lopping instrumental grooves are cinematic in scope. Crowsong's music is vibrant and atmospheric, ranging from delicate slide instrumentals to searing electric epics.
Aquarian Weekly, January 2003

By Al Muzer

A master guitarist with a slide style to envy, a vibrato that melts butter, one of the sweetest tones since Ry Cooder and the chops and flash of Blow By Blow Jeff Beck -- Randy Clark came up with sounds other axe-men had yet to imagine on 1999's all-instrumental Dark Comes Light.

Defying expectation thanks to his surprising revisit of the twangier tunes contained on that excellent outing, the utterly engrossing Western glows thanks to Clark's rich, warm, Tim Buckley-meets-Mike Scott-meets-Roger McGuinn-ish vocals, plenty of well-played banjo, mandolin and acoustic, and an edgy, Steve Earle-like vibe.

Opening with a lilting, Comes A Time-meets-Jayhawks-meets-Byrds front porch picker ("My Girl") that'd sound great on radio -- additional highlights on a disc that'll hit you in the heart more often than not include the brilliantly penned "Old Rt.13"; the appropriately titled "Badlands"; the Nitty Gritty chug of "Two Manhattans"; an eight minute sonic overload of road-weary splang called "Drive"; and a raw 'n' rangy roots-rocker called "Separate Ways" that boasts the hook "If when you wake up, you don't see me in the mornin', we must have gone our Separate Ways."
San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 2000

"Microgrooves"

In a region that has spawned too many creative and hotshot pickers to list in one place (start with Garcia and Santana and work your way through Satriani and Kaiser to Hunter and Campilongo), genius-in-waiting Randy Clark could too easily get lost in the shuffle. Composer and guitarist for the vocal-less quartet Crowsong, Clark makes his electric axe sing at the edge of feedback, wields a slide against his acoustic strings with ingenuity close to that of Cooder and Lindley, and generally creates a mysterious exotic vibe in a cobbled-together tradition whose gurus might include John Fahey, Sandy Bull, Harvey Mandel, and Bill Frisell. Bassist Edo Castro, drummer Skooter Fein, and percussionist Wade Peterson play crucial roles on these 13 instrumentals, but Clark's vivid timbres, mercurial ideas, and novel spins on eclectic influences (country, western, Delta blues, jazz, rock, Indian) give them their intoxicating and memorable personality. (Richardson)
Relix Magazine, February 2000

"Microgrooves"

Crowsong is an instrumental quartet from California led by versatile guitarist, Randy Clark. He is also a member of the modern day surf band, 'The Mermen.' In its cd, 'Dark Comes Light,' the band explores a kaleidoscopic blend of textures that has it's roots in blues, but ventures into more world beat styles. For instance, the opening cut, 'Crowsong' begins with Ry Cooder-like slide and then slips into almost classical Indian tones while incorporating complex bass patterns. This sound is further explored in "Kumar's Theme". Several of the long cuts have a somewhat repetitive yet meditative feel, most notably in the nine minute "Undeground" and the more experimental "Song for Jack Walking Eagle". The almost spaghetti western-flavored "Nobody" offers a welcome upbeat feel, while the atmospheric, acoustic slide work on "Magazines and Cocktails" shows that Clark is an incredible guitarist.
Sfgate.com, January 6th 2000

"Hear and Now Derk Richardson

Top Indie Rock 'n' Pop, 1999


This instrumental band, featuring guitarist Randy Clark, plays in fields tilled by John Fahey and Ry Cooder, touching on acoustic country blues but moving in modern directions without the cocktail trendiness of, say, the Friends of Dean Martinez."
Review from amazon.com

Crowsong: Dark Comes Light
, September 25, 2000

This CD is a journey of memories for me...a series of flashbacks to exotic places I've been, dreamt of or imagined. Each time I listen to Clark's otherworldly guitars he transports me weightlessly from a balmy lousiana bayou to a mysterious passageway in India and dumps me off in front of a gritty old west saloon in a matter of 72 minutes. His mastery of and passion for the instrument provide the foundation for this sensual ride which is at once hypnotic, profoundly melancholy and joyous. My favorite tracks: "Crowsong", "Kumar's Theme" and Magazines & Cocktails" are perfect for any type of trip- road or otherwise.

Reviewer: Lisa Wood from San Anselmo, CA
Guitar World Acoustic no.35 may 2000

Indie Jones
by Isaiah Trost

A mighty acoustic slide player, bandleader Randy Clark, comes to his current group from a stint in a California surf band. Crowsong, however, is far more Ganges than Pacific Ocean, displaying the music lessons Clark absorbed during studies in India. The music has an Eastern sound but a Western structure, so it's accessible to American ears. And very satisfying.
Aquarian Weekly, March 22, 2000

By Al Muzer

Guitarist Randy Clark lays down 72 minutes of the most genuinely amazing acoustic slide, World Beat, hypno-drone metal bluster and detuned sonic surf swirl spaced blues whale music since Jeff Beck's last decent outing. Moments of delicate beauty ("Marriage Song") and fingerpicked genius ("Before We Met") compete with ominous dirges ("15 Miles"),>country-fueled toe-tappers ("Luli House") and alien spaceship crashes ("Dark Comes Light") for the honor of being your favorite track. A brilliant guitarist deserving of your undivided attention.
Vintage Guitar, December 1999

Ever since I've been writing reviews, there are some albums that are hard to describe. That's not a bad thing. It's usually someone who's done something a little bit differently and done well. That's the deal here.

Crowsong is a four piece that features the songs and guitar playing of Randy Clark. The instrumental tunes mix country, country/blues, jazz, and pretty much everything in between. For instance, "15 Miles" features a moody, evocative sound that incorporates Randy using a slide, volume swells, and even scrapes to enhance the mood. He follows that with a killer electric solo that adds to the feel. The song "Crowsong" is the same kind of thing. He plays (if there is such a thing) slide jazz. The rhythm section cooks behind him while he solos wonderfully. "Kumar's Theme" has a middle-eastern feel with a nice chordal work.

It's definitely a different-sounding album. Randy, along with bassist Edo Castro, drummer Skooter Fein, and percussionist Wade Peterson, creates moods throughout. Clark uses everything to set things up. From nasty acoustic and electric slide, to ominious volume swells, to plain-old pretty acoustic playing, it's all there.
Guitar World Online

"San Francisco Band crafts new sound"

The San Francisco bay Area group, Crowsong has released an arresting new album of uniquely original material, Dark Comes Light. Guitarist and bandleader Randy Clark also plays in the surf modernists The Mermen, but Crowsong is a different beast, less bludgeoning and more ethereal and haunting..."
Guitar Player, April 1999

"Sessions" tutorial by Randy titled "Spread Triads"

Audio version available by calling (800) 222-3399 or online at truefire.com
Guitar Player, November 1998

"Sessions" tutorial by Randy titled "Linear String Power"

Audio version available by calling (800) 222-3399 or online at truefire.com
Ithaca Times

"Soundcheck"

Randy Clark, whom Ithacans may remember as a member of JAWS (a late '80s explosion of jazz-funk fusion) has gone west to California. Along with writing for Guitar Player Magazine, he's now leading his own group, Crowsong, and has just put out a new CD, Dark Comes Light.

I was a student at IC when JAWS was gigging around town, and I had two friends (both named Amy) who were big fans. Every weekend, the Amys and I would take the bus over to Oliver's, and sit with our heads resting on our hands, swooning over Clark. I mean, over his guitar technique.

Back then, the songs were usually too long for my tastes, and that still holds true. His music would be strengthened by economy. But other than that, he's improved.

For me, highlights of Dark Comes Light are "Underground" and "Song for Jack Walking Eagle." The tunes will be familiar to JAWS fans; I have them on a bootleg from those days. But Clark's current rendering shows how ten years have matured him. He's learned how to both build and pare accompaniment to highlight the natural shape of a melody. And — note to the Amys — he still rocks out. The kids in the hippie house across the street from me started dancing on their porch when I put the disc on.

Clark is accompanied well. Edo Castro on bass is deeply trustworthy, and shines especially on "15 Miles." Skooter Fein and Wade Peterson on drums and percussion are clever and quick, coming up with all sorts of interesting noises while never overwhelming Clark's tremendous guitar playing.

Dark Comes Light veers all over the musical map, sounding Middle-Eastern, Asian, and sometimes American Southern. Ten years ago, it was fun to hear Clark and his friends jaw down, chew up music, and spit it out. Now, it's a real pleasure to hear him take a wing and fly."
Ithaca Journal

"…searing melodic solo which put most similar efforts by arena rock guitarists to shame."

(referring to a live performance of 'Underground.')
indiecreations.com By Maria Lewytzkyj

"…better than your best opium, and definitely more multi-faceted in the what-hits-ya experiences that you might get walking down a highway stoned off your gourd…"

"…'Kumar's Theme' is an arrangement by Randy Clark based on Mishri Kirwani. It is a defiant and certain gait that feels like a solo dance in smoke. The bass and drum are a carpet upon which we sit, looking over, we see our own imagination unravel to see things we've never seen, colors that don't normally weave together and leaves a taste of slippery air…"

"…The technical and musical mastery of Randy Clark, Edo Castro, Skooter Fein and Wade Peterson is a glorious addition to the world of music where imagination seems to sometimes be thwarted by witticisms and modernisms that don't evoke the landscapes Crowsong so willingly has conceptualized."