Gig Seeker Pro


Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




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.


Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Crowsong - Shelter Eternal

This is a two CD set. Disc two is called Eternal and is mostly instrumental. 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!

Picks: Cattle Call, Mexican Summer, Companion Song, Western, Dark Was The Night Cold Was The Ground

Track by Track Review

Cattle Call
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

A big reverb crash and rich guitar tone open the song. Very surf based, with heavy western imagery, "Cattle Call" is a grand visual number with a huge sound and whammy power. Add tremolo guitar and a sense of adventure, and you're there. Very cool!

Mexican Summer
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

"Mexican Summer" begins with a spooky ambiance, which evolves into gigantic feedback and sustain much as Jim Thomas is prone to generate. It's a dramatic and commanding number with strong eerie images and darkness. Have I mentioned it's very large? It runs at a lumbering pace with thundering sound. Superb!

Companion Song
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Slithery slide notes create a hickoidal theme in this thoroughly wonderful track. "Companion Song" is on the lighter side, with a playful rhythm and warm melody. This is a very nice track, perhaps influenced a bit by Ry Cooder in his Captain Beefheart and just after days.

Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Tribal drums, rising thunder, an adventurous and engaging melody line, and Mermen-esq structures give "Western" a commanding sound. It's a large track with cool tremolo, multiple guitar parts, and superb drums.

Dark Was The Night Cold Was The Ground
Country Slide (Instrumental)

Sullen like post-battle sadness, "Dark Was The Night Cold Was The Ground" gradually rises from a spooky image to slide emotionalism that at times reminds me of Ron Wood. It's a guitar solo with rich textures and backwoods country blues blood. The slide guitar is just luscious!



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.


Guitarist Randy Clark stands outside the Red Devil Lounge on the Polk Street sidewalk smoking a cigarette minutes before his set. Fans file in at the door. A couple of his friends say hello, but mostly Clark enjoys his smoke without bother. Such is the life of an opening act on the club scene, where bands play for chump change and a couple of free beers.

[MP3s: "Anne Marie" | "Mighty" | "Peace in My Mind" ]
But tonight Clark is opening for a rare local appearance by Dick Dale, the king of surf guitar, and Clark counts himself among the king's disciples. Clark, 38, came to surf music through the savage rockabilly guitar of Link Wray and has managed to incorporate surf's twangy, staccato riffs into a style almost equally informed by the languid minor chords of Jerry Garcia or the stinging extrapolations of Neil Young.

"I grew up in the heavy metal era," says Clark. "Black Sabbath, AC/DC and all that. It was aggressive music and surf is, too. It's as American as baseball, based on the blues, but taking it to a different place, like Dick Dale and all those exotic scales."

Clark leads a three-piece band called Crowsong that has recorded three independent CDs since 1999. The latest is a two-disc set that features one CD of his largely acoustic, singer-songwriter material, and a second disc of psychedelic/surf instrumental epics. He gets his band booked at some crummy club at least a couple of times a month and makes a living giving guitar lessons at Haight Ashbury Music and the Blue Bear School.

Like most independent rock bandleaders, Clark has to juggle musicians. His regular drummer, Vince Littleton, also plays with the popular Neil Diamond tribute band, Super Diamond, so Eric Kurtzrock is playing drums at the Red Devil gig. Kurtzrock plays in a jazz group that has worked three nights a week for the past seven years at the Ghirardelli Square restaurant Ana Mandara, where he occasionally brings Crowsong to play all-instrumental ambient sets.

"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."

Bassist Joshua Zucker estimates he currently plays with a dozen different bands, but he most closely identifies with Crowsong (he also works in the computer systems department of The Chronicle). "This local clubbing is a hard road," Zucker says, "but you've got to do it."

Clark, whose parents gave him his first guitar when he was 4, grew up in Holland Patent, a blip in upstate New York surrounded by dairy farms. A self-described "high school hippie," he went to Grateful Dead concerts and moved to San Francisco in 1992. "The Grateful Dead had something to do with me coming to California," he says, "the idea that you could do what you want in music."

Attending music school in Ithaca, N.Y., he came under the spell of the extraordinary acoustic guitarist Martin Simpson, who played at Clark's wedding and used to work regularly in the college town deli Clark booked. Simpson got him curious about slide guitar.

At the Red Devil Lounge, Clark unpacks a well-used 1961 Gretsch guitar, the Chet Atkins model, and plugs in a series of foot switches and outboard effects he arranges on the floor at his feet. The headline band is late setting up and only the bass player and drummer in Dale's band, the Del-Tones, conduct the sound check, the bassist running through some of Dale's trademark guitar licks on the king's Stratocaster. Clark goes to park his car thinking his sound check has been canceled, only to return and find out it's back on and he is late.

Clark played guitar for a couple of years in the Billy Nayer Show, a multimedia act that combined original films with live performances and had a big buzz going for a minute. In 1999, Clark spent some time playing with San Francisco psychedelic surf specialists the Mermen, whose guitarist-bandleader Jim Thomas worked alongside Clark during the day at Haight Ashbury Music. Crowsong got its start playing on an old plank from a pier thrown on the beach under Golden Gate Bridge for one of the infamous parties given by Ranger John Cantwell, the old hand at Alcatraz, where the Mermen were practically the house band.

From the very beginning, Crowsong was a vehicle for both Clark's artistic bents - the semi-acoustic folky material and the surf guitar instrumentals. A lot of his instrumentals are influenced by the spaghetti Western soundtrack music of Ennio Morricone, such as "Red Is the Color of Blood," the instrumental that opens the Red Devil set with booming, mournful clanging punctuated by a dizzying run of chords up and down the neck.

That morning, the group had played the acoustic act live in the studio of radio station KPIG in Santa Cruz. Now at the Red Devil Lounge, Clark is packing the set list with some of his most thunderous material.

"If there was a night for loud, crazy guitar numbers," he says, "tonight would be the night."

Clark wins over the crowd right away. He has dispensed with the glasses he wears offstage and, his long hair hanging in his face, he studies his fingers and makes constant adjustments to the knobs and switches at his feet. He puts his guitar through careful signal processing, kneeling at one point and playing the knobs on the floor, not the strings.

Opening acts on a three-act club bill usually are little more than canon fodder. But Clark packs a wallop in his playing and he scores repeatedly with the crowd.

Clark holds up a CD and invites the crowd to meet the band after the set. He hustles his equipment offstage to make way for the evening's second-billed act.

He grabs his free beer and heads out into the club to meet up with his wife and watch the rest of the show, just another fan who doesn't even have a preferred seat.

Listen to "Cattle Call" by Randy Clark and Crowsong:

E-mail Joel Selvin at

This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


"KPFA 94.1 FM"


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.


1999 "Dark Comes Light" Crowsong Recordings
2002 "Western" Crowsong Recordings
2007 "Shelter Eternal" Crowsong Recordings
Randy also got to play on two tracks on the Mermen cd "The Amazing Health And Happiness Roadshow"2000
Crowsong songs used for "Lost Jewel Of The Atlantic" Save The Waves
Crowsong has played on KPIG 1510 AM,KPFA 94.1 FM, and been featured on National Public Radio.



Crowsong started off in 1997 with founder Randy Clark playing slide guitar with drummers Skooter Fein and Wade Peterson.Clark had just returned
from India, where he studied Sarod.The first big show was opening for the Mermen at a legendary party in the Presidio, where Crowsong played on a busted pier sticking out of the water, with Clark
blasting through Jim Thomas's Dual Showman's and
no less than five drummers!Soon after Crowsong released "Dark Comes Light "and got on the Top Ten Indie Releases in San Francisco for 1999, as well as getting great reviews in The Bay Guardian,
Relix ,Dirty Linen, and lots of other magazines.NPR played parts of the record on All Things Considered.
In 2002, Crowswong released "Western", and Randy started singing in the band.The lineup changed on this cd, adding bass player Josh Zucker and drummer Dave Kaufman. Crowsong were now a trio, and getting more twangy and rootsy.
In 2007 Crowsong released their most ambitious
cd yet: a double record called Shelter Eternal.
This release has one disc of songs with words, and one instrumental disc.Clark added his old Mermen pal Vince Littleton on drums, and the band has never sounded better. Josh Zucker played bass and Jordan Glascoe played piano,wurlitzer and organ.My friend and engineer Jon Evans played bass on two songs "Shelter "and "Companion Song" We're thrilled to play, and want to tour and keep putting out records.In 2007 Crowsong welcomed Eric Kurtzrock on drums.We had a last minute show and Eric played great, and we've been playing together ever since.Late in 2007, Justin Flores took over as the bass player in Crowsong.He had been touring as a ballet, and modern dancer, and his groove is really solid.
Ten years after our gig on the busted pier, Crowsong is still getting better and hitting their stride with a great new record. Here's our press release. Check out for more
info, press and video clips.

San Francisco trio Crowsong proudly announces the release of its third recording, Shelter/Eternal. Following Western, the band's acclaimed 2002 sophomore effort, Shelter/Eternal comes after four years of intense writing and recording sessions. The result is a double album packed with songs reflecting the richly various dimensions and influences acclaimed guitarist/founder Randy Clark brings. In Shelter, Clark layers acoustic and electric chords in traditional rock- and bluegrass-based arrangements that prop up achingly straight-shooting lyrics, sung in Clark's endearing warm, clear twang. The all-instrumental Eternal opens with a shimmering flourish of surf guitar, greeting you like a rolling wave on a sunny beach. And for those who can't get enough of Clark's glorious, mournful slide guitar, Eternal leaves you with a wistful track subtly merging slide's classical Indian and Delta roots that will have you reaching for your prayer beads with one hand and your bourbon bottle with the other. Spanning the two-album collection is the unique blend of innate humility, honesty and blazing technical virtuosity that has earned high praise from critics and a loyal following since the band's 1999 debut release, Dark Comes Light.

"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"...- Derk Richardson, SF Bay Guardian
Since releasing Shelter/ Eternal, Crowsong has been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, had live broadcasts on KPIG 1510 AM and KPFA 94.1FM, and performed with surf king Dick Dale. Shelter Eternal has proven to be a favorite with music fans and critics.



"This is lush Surfadelic music in the grand tradition." "Tribal drums, rising thunder...dramatic and commanding...Superb!"-- Phil Dirt REVERB CENTRAL, SURF'S UP

"Clark came to surf music through the savage rockabilly guitar of Link Wray and has managed to incorporate surf's twangy, staccato rifts into a style almost equally informed by the languid minor chords of Jerry Garcia or the stinging extrapolations of Neil Young".-- Joel Selvin SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"Eternal is five cuts of guitar heaven." -- John Heidt VINTAGE GUITAR

"These records are little masterpieces."-- Freddy Celis ROOTSTIME
P.O. Box 170451 San Francisco, CA 94117 (415) 995-1976 WWW.CROWSONG.COM
About the Band

Crowsong is a whirlwind tour through blues-rooted rock, classical Indian, epic surf and haunting slide guitar that leaves a musical imprint all its own. Founder Randy Clark has been called "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" (Al Muzer, Aquarian Weekly). Clark has played and recorded with The Mermen, The Billy Nayer Show, Os