Hear selections from the new Stephen Stills CD.
Avie Schneider, NPR
Stephen Stills says he's happier with his singing voice than he has been in years.
In 1966, Stephen Stills rode up behind Neil Young on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. Young was driving a hearse with Ontario plates.
A hearse? "It's the greatest band car in the world because you can fit the drums and everybody in it and it's got some style," Stills notes.
The chance meeting ("We were babies and just about to go into the world," Still says) is the subject of "Round the Bend," a song from Man Alive! The CD is Stills' first solo effort in 14 years.
Stills says he kept coming back to this particular project over the years, but couldn't quite finish until now. He had a good excuse: Old friends David Crosby, Graham Nash and Young kept luring him back out on the road to tour.
Crosby, Nash and Young perform with him on the CD. But Stills also made sure the songs reflected his own, ever-shifting musical tastes. The result is a collection of 13 songs that range from bluesy rock to Cajun country to an 11-minute jazz-influenced Spanish suite, with Herbie Hancock on the piano.
Stills says he's happier with his singing than he has been in years. His voice has "opened back up" and "I don't have to strain for those notes on stage these days," he says.