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Counting Crows

Counting Crows

Rock group

Counting Crows made their debut in 1993 with August and Everything After, an album recorded in a cavernous Los Angeles mansion. The sound of the band—and the vocals of its burly front man, the dreadlocked Adam Duritz—instantly drew comparisons to such earlier rock giants as Van Morrison and The Band. Some critics subsequently dismissed the band as derivative, but other reviewers contended that the group was a creative, talented addition to the rock music universe. As Melody Maker remarked, "Counting Crows are unashamedly steeped in a classic rock tradition, but there's nothing stale or hoary about this music. It's vibrant and alive, bright and brilliant in the here and now." While critics bickered about the merits of the album, music fans came down solidly in favor of the band, making August and Everything After one of the best-selling albums of 1994. In 1996 the band released a second album, Recovering the Satellites, that received a predominantly warm reception from critics and fans.

As the group's lead singer, chief songwriter, and cofounder (along with guitarist David Bryson), Duritz was easily the most visible and recognized member of Counting Crows. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but his physician father relocated the family several times during his childhood. Duritz's family eventually wound up in the San Francisco area, where he met Bryson. The two quickly discovered that they shared a long-held passion for music. "It's been my life since fifth grade," Bryson said in Guitar Player. "I can't even imagine wanting to do anything else."

By 1991 Bryson and Duritz were playing San Francisco-area clubs as an acoustic, folk-oriented duo, but both wanted to start a full band. They soon recruited keyboard player Charlie Gillingham, drummer Steve Bowman, and bassist Matt Malley. Subsequent jam sessions encouraged the quintet to continue working together. Soon Counting Crows, as the band called itself, was playing to packed clubs throughout San Francisco. The steadily building buzz around the band attracted talent scouts from a number of major record labels, and the group eventually signed with Geffen.

After securing noted producer T-Bone Burnett to help guide them in the creation of their debut album, the band sequestered itself away in an empty, crumbling Los Angeles mansion. "We got in there and stripped the songs and each other down to the bone," Duritz told Musician's Bill Flanagan. "It was a real painful process, but we needed to learn how to be a band. We needed to learn what it would really take to make this level of an album, what you have to demand of yourself. I had no idea. We knew what we wanted, but we didn't know what it was going to take." Two months later, the band had completed August and Everything After.

Released in September 1993, August and Everything After had an immediate impact, despite the fact that Duritz and the band had placed a number of restrictions on the marketing of the album. They successfully restrained Geffen from releasing a single from the album and quashed efforts to place advertisements in rock magazines. Instead, Counting Crows made certain that the band stood or fell on its own merits. "It's real natural that way," Duritz told Mark Brown of the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. "If you buy the record that way, you know you want to hear it. They have a lot of money invested with us. They're taking a risk. But it's working." Indeed, the album rose steadily up the charts, buoyed by the band's touring, a Saturday Night Live appearance, and the pervasive presence of their video for the song "Mr. Jones" on MTV and VH-1.

Another factor in the album's popularity (it eventually went platinum) was its largely favorable critical reaction. Melody Maker called August and Everything After "often awesomely assured, [an] exhilarating mix of soul, R&B, folk, country, and rock 'n' roll." Time reviewer Christopher John Farley concurred, commenting that "the Crows' debut CD … shows that this Bay Area band is capable of creating credible, sometimes beautiful, rock 'n' roll." There were dissenting voices, however. One of the most venomous reviews of August and Everything After was submitted by Entertainment Weekly's David Browne, who wrote that "it's bad enough that such blatant calculation has gone into the band's look. Even worse is the album itself. Sluggish and meandering, with tastefully correct organs and mandolins, the songs are mostly the sort of plodding, earnest ‘rock music’ usually made by men twice their age." He went on to call Duritz's lyrics "laughable attempts at rock lyrics-as-poetry."

For the Record …

Members include Jim Bogios (replaced Ben Mize, 2002), drums; David Bryson (born on November 5, 1961), guitar; Adam Duritz (born on August 1, 1964, in Baltimore, MD), vocals, piano, harmonica; Charlie Gillingham (born on January 12, 1960, in Torrance, CA), keyboards, accordion; David Immerglück , guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar; Millard Powers (replaced Matt Malley, 2005), bass guitar, upright double bass, piano, vocals; Dan Vickrey (born on August 26, 1966, in Walnut Creek, CA), guitar.

Band formed by Adam Duritz and David Bryson in August 1991 in San Francisco, CA; signed with Geffen records, 1992; performed Van Morrison song at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, 1993; released August and Everything After, 1993; Duritz contributed vocals to "Going Back to Georgia" for Nanci Griffith's The Flyer, 1995; released Recovering the Satellites, 1996; band recorded live CD Across a Wire: Live in New York, 1998; released This Desert Life, which includes hit singles "Hangin' Around" and "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby," 1999; released Hard Candy, including collaborations with Sheryl Crow, Matthew Sweet, Ryan Adams, and Leona Naess, 2002; single "Accidentally in Love," from movie soundtrack Shrek 2 nominated for Academy Award for Best Song, 2004; released concept album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, 2008.

Addresses: Record company—Geffen Records, 9130 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069-6197, Web site: http://www.geffen.com. Web site—Counting Crows Official Web site: http://countingcrows.com.

A number of reviewers also commented on the similarity of Duritz's emotional singing style to that of Van Morrison, a comparison that greatly annoyed the Crows' lead man. "I really hate [the comparisons]," he told Browne. "I've gotten a lot of this flack. I threw one ‘sha la la’ in as a joke on the record. The next thing I know I'm the second coming of the Belfast Cowboy [a Morrison nickname]. I don't get it. I can see where I learned from his singing. [But] all these other writers jump on it as an easy reference point…. Where did I borrow from Morrison? Just singing emotionally? That seems an obvious given." Writing in Musician, Bill Flanagan called the Duritz-as-Morrison-imitator accusation "a dubious rap. Anyone who sings emotional soul-inflected vocals over acoustic guitar is going to sound a bit like Van…. When the roll of Morrison imitators is called up yonder, Adam will be down in the middle of the list with Rickie Lee Jones, Joan Armatrading, and Bono—behind Seger, Springsteen, Costello, and the other twenty or thirty disciples we could all name if we had nothing else to do, or if it mattered."

By mid-1994 Counting Crows was one of the best-known bands in America. However, the band—and especially Duritz—found that their new fame had a sometimes disconcerting flavor. "It's really wonderful to be able to do this art, this thing that I am so moved to do and support myself by doing it," Duritz remarked to Flanagan. "That's a real gift, a blessing not to be scoffed at. But at the same time, there's all these really crappy parts to it. You bare your soul to these people and you don't think about it when you do it, because it's what you do as a writer. But you're making millions of people your confidant. And then they expect to come talk to you and be your friend. That's hard." Unnerved by all the attention—and the suffocating coverage of his personal life (he has dated actresses Mary Louise Parker, Courteney Cox, and Jennifer Aniston)—Duritz came down with a case of writer's block that lasted for the better part of two years.

For much of 1994 and 1995 Counting Crows stayed out of the studio, stymied by Duritz's struggles and a band-wide recognition that the stakes had become very large for them. "It's hard," Duritz admitted to Flanagan, "because if we make a misstep right now we'll carry it forever. You can become a great, great songwriter and never get that ‘Cougar’ out of your name."

Eventually, the Crows returned to recording, bolstered by a new batch of confessional, relationship-oriented songs from Duritz, who ultimately worked through his writing difficulties. The result was Recovering the Satellites, released in the fall of 1996. Many critics echoed the thoughts of Mojo magazine, which characterized it as the "work of a considerably improved band." Anthony DeCurtis added in Rolling Stone: "In song after song, [Duritz] searches for what can last in a world that too often generates hopes and aspirations that only end in disappointment…. The past few years haven't been easy for this band, but there's much more to come. Counting Crows are here to stay."

In 1999, the band released This Desert Life, which had less of a brooding feel and more of a sense of up-tempo rock than they had previously recorded. For many who had grown tired of what San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Neva Chonin characterized as the band's "combination of practiced confession, prickly emotion and artistic grandstanding," this latest album marked a welcome new direction. Critics praised the variety of songs ranging from the rowdy rock tune "Hangin' Around" to the ballad "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby." Greg Kot of Rolling Stone noted that This Desert Life represented "the most consistently tuneful of all the Crows albums, and it makes Duritz's moping almost tolerable."

Songs on Counting Crows next album, 2002's Hard Candy, seemed to resonate with listeners looking for well-crafted rock. Like their earlier August and Everything After, Hard Candy was recorded in a home in Los Angeles. In an interview with Evan Schlansky for Rolling Stone, Duritz explained that songs on the album center on themes of memory and "the way you use [memories] to substitute for living sometimes." Following the world tour for Hard Candy and pop success with the 2004 single "Accidentally in Love" from the soundtrack to Shrek 2, Duritz and the band took a break from writing or recording new material. Duritz told David Dye in an interview for NPR's World Cafe that the intensity of touring and recording distracted him from important events in his life, recalling that he nearly missed his grandmother's funeral while on tour in Australia. "I was almost afraid to write a song because you write a song, you want to record it, you record it, you make a record and you're out on the road again," he admitted to Dye. During this break he continued to listen to "1492," a song he had written for Hard Candy that had never made it on the album because it did not fit in with its theme of memories. He crafted the band's next album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, around "1492," which Duritz described as a song about disintegration, one that evoked the mental illness he battled. "Some of the medications made it so it was hard to find words, so I couldn't write," he told Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone. "I needed to write a song that was really not hinting at, but truly about insanity…. And I needed that, a song that really said, like, this is horrible."

The album is divided into two parts—the first, Saturday Nights, was produced by Gil Norton and the second, Sunday Mornings, was produced by Brian Deck. Dye praised the album, describing it as "sprawling, like a Russian novel," and several critics noted that Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings epitomized 1970s rock that favors richly layered and highly crafted songs. While not exactly music for the mainstream in the new millennium, Counting Crows delivered what many still demanded. Thom Jurek of All Music Guide summarized: "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings is a rock record in the grandest and most polished sense of the word: it wears its lineage proudly, and imparts emotions directly and brazenly honestly no matter how pretty or shiny the picture is." Ambassadors of the rock world for nearly two decades, Counting Crows continue to create epic music for a dedicated following.

Selected discography

August and Everything After, Geffen, 1993.

Recovering the Satellites, Geffen, 1996.

Across the Wire: Live in New York, Geffen, 1998.

This Desert Life, Geffen, 1999.

Hard Candy, Geffen, 2002; reissued, Universal, 2006.

New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall February 6, 2003, Geffen, 2006.

Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, Geffen, 2008.

Sources

Periodicals

Audio, January 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, February 10, 1994.

Guitar Player, June 1994.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, December 20, 1993.

Melody Maker, March 5, 1994.

Mojo, November 1996.

Musician, May 1994.

New York Times, April 3, 1994; October 12, 2002.

People, October 21, 1996.

Pollstar, January 17, 1994.

Q, November 1996.

Rolling Stone, October 20, 1993; December 3, 1993; June 30, 1994; November 28, 1996; November 25, 1999; July 2, 2002; April 3, 2008.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 1994; December 12, 1999; December 14, 1999.

Spin, May 1994.

Time, February 14, 1994; October 21, 1996.

Washington Post, October 27, 1999.

Online

"Counting Crows," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (June 5, 2008).

"Counting Crows," Rolling Stone,http://rollingstone.com (June 5, 2008).

"Counting Crows," World Cafe,http://www.npr.org (June 5, 2008).

—Kevin Hillstrom and Elizabeth Henry

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"Counting Crows." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Counting Crows

Counting Crows

Rock band

A New San Francisco Band

Debut Album Flies High

Band Grapples with Newfound Fame

Selected discography

Sources

Counting Crows made their debut in 1993 with August and Everything After, an album recorded in a cavernous Los Angeles mansion. The sound of the bandand the vocals of its burly frontman, the dread-locked Adam Duritzinstantly drew comparisons to such earlier rock giants as Van Morrison and The Band. Some critics subsequently dismissed the band as derivative, but other reviewers contended that the group was a creative, talented addition to the rock music universe. As Melody Maker remarked, Counting Crows are unashamedly steeped in a classic rock tradition, but theres nothing stale or hoary about this music. Its vibrant and alive, bright and brilliant in the here and now. While critics bickered about the merits of the album, music fans came down solidly in favor of the band, making August and Everything After one of the best-selling albums of 1994. In 1996 the band released a second album, Recovering the Satellites, that received a predominantly warm reception from critics and fans.

A New San Francisco Band

As the groups lead singer, chief songwriter, and cofounder (along with guitarist David Bryson), Duritz was easily the most visible and recognized member of Counting Crows. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but his doctor father relocated the family several times during his childhood. Duritzs family eventually wound up in the San Francisco area, where he met Bryson. The two quickly discovered that they shared a long-held passion for music. Its been my life since fifth grade, Bryson said in Guitar Player. I cant even imagine wanting to do anything else.

By 1991 Bryson and Duritz were playing San Francisco-area clubs as an acoustic, folk-oriented duo, but both wanted to start a full band. They soon recruited keyboard player Charlie Gillingham, drummer Steve Bowman, and bassist Matt Malley. Subsequent jam sessions encouraged the quintet to continue working together. Soon Counting Crows, as the band called itself, was playing to packed clubs throughout San Francisco. The steadily building buzz around the band attracted talent scouts from a number of major record labels, and the group eventually signed with Geffen.

After securing noted producer T-Bone Burnett to help guide them in the creation of their debut album, the band sequestered itself away in an empty, crumbling Los Angeles mansion. We got in there and stripped the songs and each other down to the bone, Duritz told Musicians Bill Flanagan. It was a real painful process, but we needed to learn how to be a band. We needed to learn what it would really take to make this level of an album, what you have to demand of yourself. I had no idea. We knew what we wanted, but we didnt know what it was going to take. Two months later, the band had completed August and Everything After.

Debut Album Flies High

Released in September 1993, August and Everything After had an immediate impact, despite the fact that Duritz and the band had placed a number of restrictions on the marketing of the album (they successfully restrained Geffen from releasing a single from the album and quashed efforts to place advertisements in rock magazines). Instead, Counting Crows made certain that the band stood or fell on its own merits. Its real natural that way, Duritz told Mark Brown of the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. If you buy the record that way, you know you want to hear it. They have a lot of money invested with us. Theyre taking a risk. But its working. Indeed, the album rose steadily up the charts, buoyed by the bands touring, a Saturday Night Live appearance, and the pervasive presence of their video for the song Mr. Jones on MTV and VH-1.

Another factor in the albums popularity (it eventually sold six million copies) was its largely favorable critical reaction. Melody Maker called August and Everything After often awesomely assured, [an] exhilarating mix of soul, R&B, folk, country, and rock n roll. Timereviewer Christopher John Farley concurred, commenting that

For the Record

Band members include Adam Duritz, vocals, piano, harmonica (born August 1, 1964, in Baltimore, MD); David Bryson, guitar (born November 5, 1961); Dan Vickrey, guitar (born August 26, 1966, in Walnut Creek, CA); Matt Malley, bass (born July 4, 1963); Charles Gillingham, keyboards (born January 12, 1960, in Torrance, CA); Ben Mize, drums (born February 2, 1971). Vickrey joined band just before release of debut album, while Mize replaced Steve Bowman (born January 14, 1967), who played on August and Everything After, after its release.

Band formed by Duritz and Bryson in August 1991 in San Francisco, California; signed with Geffen records, 1992; performed Van Morrison song at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, 1993; released August and Everything After, 1993; Duritz contributed vocals to Going Back to Georgia for Nanci Griffiths The Flyer, 1995; released Recovering the Satellites, 1996.

Addresses: Fan club Counting Crows, P.O. Box 5008, Berkeley, CA 94705; e-mail address: http://countingcrows.com. Record company Geffen Records, 9130 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069-6197.

the Crows debut CD shows that this Bay Area band is capable of creating credible, sometimes beautiful, rock n roll. There were dissenting voices, however. One of the most venomous reviews of August and EverythingAfterwas submitted by EntertainmentWeeklys David Browne, who wrote that its bad enough that such blatant calculation has gone into the bands look. Even worse is the album itself. Sluggish and meandering, with tastefully correct organs and mandolins, the songs are mostly the sort of plodding, earnest rock music usually made by men twice their age. He went on to call Duritzs lyrics laughable attempts at rock lyrics-as-poetry.

A number of reviewers also commented on the similarity of Duritzs emotional singing style to that of Van Morrison, a comparison that greatly annoyed the Crows lead man. I really hate [the comparisons], he told Brown. Ive gotten a lot of this flack. I threw one sha la la in as a joke on the record. The next thing I know Im the second coming of the Belfast Cowboy [a Morrison nickname]. I dont get it. I can see where I learned from his singing. [But] all these other writers jump on it as an easy reference point Where did I borrow from Van Morrison? Just singing emotionally? That seems an obvious given. Writing in Musician, Bill Flanagan called the Duritz-as-Morrison-imitator accusation a dubious rap. Anyone who sings emotional soul-inflected vocals over acoustic guitar is going to sound a bit like Van When the roll of Morrison imitators is called up yonder, Adam will be down in the middle of the list with Rickie Lee Jones, Joan Armatrading, and BonobehindSeger, Springsteen, Costello, and the other twenty or thirty disciples we could all name if we had nothing else to do, or if it mattered.

Band Grapples with Newfound Fame

By mid-1994 Counting Crows was one of the best-known bands in America. However, the bandand especially Duritzfound that their new fame had a sometimes disconcerting flavor. Its really wonderful to be able to do this art, this thing that I am so moved to do and support myself by doing it, Duritz remarked to Flanagan. Thats a real gift, a blessing not to be scoffed at. But at the same time, theres all these really crappy parts to it. You bare your soul to these people and you dont think about it when you do it, because its what you do as a writer. But youre making millions of people your confidant. And then they expect to come talk to you and be your friend. Thats hard. Unnerved by all the attentionand the suffocating coverage of his personal life (he has dated actresses Mary Louise Parker, Courteney Cox, and Jennifer Aniston during the past few years)Duritz came down with a case of writers block that lasted for the better part of two years.

For much of 1994 and 1995 Counting Crows stayed out of the studio, stymied by Duritzs struggles and a band-wide recognition that the stakes had become very large for them. Its hard, Duritz admitted to Flanagan, because if we make a misstep right now well carry it forever. You can become a great, great songwriter and never get that Cougar out of your name.

Eventually, the Crows returned to recording, bolstered by a new batch of confessional, relationship-oriented songs from Duritz, who eventually worked through his writing difficulties. The result was Recovering the Satellites, released in the fall of 1996. Many critics echoed the thoughts of Mojo magazine, which characterized it as the work of a considerably improved band. Anthony DeCurtis added in Rolling Stone: In song after song, [Duritz] searches for what can last in a world that too often generates hopes and aspirations that only end in disappointment The past few years havent been easy for this band, but theres much more to come. Counting Crows are here to stay.

Selected discography

August and Everything After, Geffen, 1993.

Recovering the Satellites, Geffen, 1996.

Sources

Audio, January 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, February 10, 1994.

Guitar Player, June 1994.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, December 20, 1993.

Melody Maker, March 5, 1994.

Mojo, November 1996.

Musician, May 1994.

New York Times, April 3, 1994.

People, October 21, 1996.

Pollstar, January 17, 1994.

Q, November 1996.

Rolling Stone, October 20, 1993; December 3, 1993; June 30, 1994; November 28, 1996.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 1994.

Spin, May 1994.

Time, February 14, 1994; October 21, 1996.

Kevin Hillstrom

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"Counting Crows." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Counting Crows." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/counting-crows

Counting Crows

COUNTING CROWS

Formed: 1989, San Francisco, California

Members: Adam Duritz, vocals, keyboard (born Baltimore, Maryland, 1 August 1964); David Bryson, guitar (born San Francisco, California, 5 November 1961); Charlie Gillingham, keyboard, accordion (born Torrance, California, 12 January 1960); Matt Malley, bass, guitar (born 4 July 1963); Steve Bowman, drums (born 14 January 1967); Ben Mize, drums (born 2 February 1971).

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: August and Everything After (1993)

Hit songs since 1990: "Mr. Jones," "Round Here," "A Long December"


Combining the sometimes clashing elements of classic and alternative rock, Counting Crows made a sensational debut in 1993 with their multiplatinum album August and Everything After. The hit singles "Mr. Jones" and "Round Here" established the authority of the poetic lyrics and highly emotional vocalism of the lead singer, Adam Duritz. At the height of the grunge movement, with Nirvana and Pearl Jam the bands of the moment, Counting Crows brought to the musical scene a traditional rock sound. At the same time, Duritz's lyrics captured the zeitgeist associated with Generation X but without the nihilism and despair that pervaded Cobain's work. Counting Crows' music was the kind of music that could make it big on both alternative radio and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Counting Crows were formed by Duritz and guitarist David Bryson in 1989, when they began performing acoustic arrangements in the coffeehouse circuit of San Francisco. With a name derived from a nursery rhyme, the Crows soon became a larger group, with the addition of bassist Matt Malley, keyboard player Charles Gillingham, and drummer Steve Bowman. After developing a considerable following in the San Francisco area, the group ultimately recorded a demo that caught the attention of DGC Records, which signed them in 1992. August and Everything After, issued the following year, with lyrics and music credited to Duritz, shot to number four on the charts and sold more than 6 million copies.

On this album Duritz's lyrics reach a consistently high level, with the density and power of poetry and the authentic note of yearning. Despite their tendency toward grunge-like pessimism, lamenting wasted lives and diminished spirits, these songs end on a note of hope: "All your life is such a shame / All your love is just a dream," the narrator warns in "A Murder of One," the album's final track, but soon adds, "You don't want to waste your life."

The group's second album, Recovering the Satellites (1996), was long delayed by what Duritz later described as a block caused by his new-found celebrity, but it was well received upon its release. It carries on many of the same themes as the first album, but the music is often harder-edged. In "Angels of the Silences," the narrator yearns to come back to his lover but knows it won't happen: "All my sins/ I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you."

Spot Light: August and Everything After

Certain bands seem to encapsulate the sound of classic rock, even when their songs are in a completely different category. Counting Crows' sensationally successful debut album, August and Everything After (1993), is a case in point. At the height of the grunge movement, with Nirvana and Pearl Jam the bands of the moment, lyricist/composer Adam Duritz and his group produced music that echoed the rock of the 1960s and 1970s. This ability to fuse a contemporary sensibility with a traditional sound is one of the reasons Counting Crows became such a popular group. "Round Here," the lead track on the album and a hit single, sets the tone. Its narrator tells of a deeply troubled young woman named Maria, who comes to him seeking a release he can't provide. He lives "In the air between the rain," whereas she seems as if "she's walking on a wire in the circus." In "Mr. Jones," the other hit single, the narrator encounters a Mr. Jones, who, like him, wants to be a rock and roll star: "We all want to be big stars, but we don't know why and we don't know how." With some echoes of the Byrds's "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star" and a reference to Bob Dylan, the song expresses the frustrations of someone on the outside looking in. As a lyrical voice for the outcast and lonely, Duritz's songs on August and Everything After provided an eloquent counterpoint to the heavy, occasionally maudlin lamentations of the grunge-rock movement.


The title song asks similar questions, asserting that "we only stay in orbit / For a moment of time / And then you're everybody's satellite." "A Long December"along with "Angels" a hit single from the albumcontains laments of much the same kind: "I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself / To hold on to these moments as they pass." These are songs of losslost loves, lost innocence, lost direction. And they are also songs of Los Angeles. More than in their first album, Duritz makes use of the locale in setting the mood of his lyrics.

Two more albums followed in the nineties. First, the live Across a Wire: Live in New York City (1998), which featured acoustic and electric sets recorded in two different venues. This double album reprises songs from the previous albums, giving some of them a new spin. Finally, the following year saw This Desert Life, the band's third studio album, and increasing criticism (voiced previously) that Duritz's music was too highly derivativeclassic rock in alternative disguiseand too repetitive. Nonetheless, the group remained very popular, received lots of airplay, and retained a considerable following. Beginning in the nineties, they created an enlarged ensemble with a now-familiar sound and a singer/composer whose hopes and yearnings had become staples of the musical scene.

Hard Candy (2002), their most recent album, confirmed their success and made up for the less than enthusiastic reception afforded its predecessor. If the themes of August and Everything After and their other earlier albums were yearning and frustration, their later work has stressed memory. Mellower than many tracks from their earlier work, it shows its singer/composer and the group around him in a new and optimistic light.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

August and Everything After (Geffen, 1993); Recovering the Satellites (Geffen, 1996); Across a Wire: Live in New York (Geffen, 1998); This Desert Life (Interscope, 1999).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

M. Scharfglass, Counting Crows: This Desert Life (Milwaukee, 2000).

archie loss

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