It is with the deepest sadness I share the news of the passing of my long time friend and collaborator Rob Meurer. Rob and I met in our late teens as members of rival bands in our home town of San Antonio, Texas. We had a immediate connection, and from that moment a very special friendship was born out of our shared love of music.
As the years went on we formed various cover bands, saw each other through rough patches and had lots of good times. We eventually connected with Andy Salmon and Tommy Taylor and formed a group that became Christopher Cross. We made an album in 1980 which, with all humility had a such a unique sound that it took the pop music world by storm. We made our mark.
In 1988 Rob and I began writing songs together which continued until the day he was taken from us. We had just finished our newest a song called “Truth”.
To try and explain how I feel, or to try to imagine how his wife Beth and daughter Anne feel at this moment is impossible, but I felt I wanted to share with you the tremendous love and respect I had for this man. He was quite simply the smartest guy I ever knew, funny, kind, devoted to his family and friends, and talented beyond measure. Not just wth the work he and I did, but his own solo work, and his musical theater projects. His love of the craft was as deep as anyone I’ve ever known. He knew why he was here.
As he said so many times when we felt our work was not being as commercially rewarded as we had hoped, why we should keep going, he simply said, “It’s what we do”.
Rob was the consummate wordsmith, so I say to him here, I'm sorry partner, I just will never find the ones to say how much I will miss you.
I am working on a new musical project. Lots of folks have asked me about doing a guitar album. I am flattered but humbled when I think of my good friends like Eric Jonson, Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather, however I have decided to embark on it.
The album will be a bit unique in that the songs will have guitar solos by me and guests, as well as sax and piano solos from guys in my live touring group, but the songs will also feature some vocals. As an example, there might be a recurring chorus or bridge that is sung that communicates a theme, but no verses as in my past work. Sort of a hybrid album stylistically.
In this endeavor I have finished my first track “Roberta”. It is devoted to my mentor Joni Mitchell. Joan’s birth name is Roberta Joan Anderson. She later married Andrew Mitchell and took his last name. Joni is my main influence as a songwriter and while I love her early work, as we all do, this new track is more in the style of “Hejira and her later work.
The bridge lyrics, that don’t enter till a bit later in the song speak of my deep respect for her:
SHE IS THE SUN
SHE IS THE SEED AND WATER
SHE’S THE SHAMAN
DON JUAN’S RECKLESS DAUGHTER
THE GIFT OF PURPOSE
A PATH TO CALL MY OWN
ALL THESE THINGS FROM MY MUSE
I have decided to share the song with all of you, and I am thankful to Les Irvin, Joni’s webmaster for posting it on her site as well.
I’m not sure when the album will be coming out? But rest assured we will keep you in the loop here on my progress. As always thank you for your support. CC
Christopher proudly displays this beautiful quilt in his office made by Shirley Stuckey. He really wants to reach out and thank her and show his appreciation. Shirley, if you read this please message Christopher through his Facebook page.
"We all lost a wonderful artist, and a good friend Monday. I toured with the Eagles in the early 80's, then Glenn and I did a tour together in Japan. I will always treasure those good times."
Christopher Cross bridges voices across eras at ACL Live
By John T. Davis
Special to the American-Statesman
According to one sensibility, certain voices are immutably welded to their moment in time, never to transcend it. By that yardstick, the Beach Boys will be forever married to the sunny 1960s; the Doobie Brothers (with golden-toned vocalist Michael McDonald) evoke the tumult of Watergate and the bitter denouement of Vietnam. And Christopher Cross embodies the pinnacle of adult contemporary radio’s perfect pop production line, as much a product of the early 1980s as an episode of “Miami Vice.”
Alternatively, you could make the argument that some voices — through repetition, transgenerational affection and sheer prowess — become, in effect, timeless.
On Wednesday night at ACL Live, Cross, McDonald and the Beach Boys’ Mike Love (along with guitarist Eric Johnson) made a compelling case for the latter point of view.
The occasion was “Christopher Cross and Friends,” a special PBS taping produced by KLRU, which will yield a musical special and a DVD.
Hometown boy Cross has always retained a big reservoir of affection in Austin, though he seldom plays locally. So his appearance in front of a sold-out house, along with the chance to showcase his friends and mentors Love, McDonald and Johnson, had a special resonance to his fans.
Opening with a decades-spanning pair of tracks (“Got to Be a Better Way” from 2014’s “Secret Ladder” and “Never Be the Same” from his chart-topping 1979 debut), Cross combined deft guitar work with a crackerjack band. Throughout the evening he was abetted at various times by the “Barton Strings,” members of the Austin Symphony conducted by Peter Bay, and the Conspirare Youth Choir. (“Their grandparents are all big fans of mine,” Cross noted wryly.)
But it was the voices, echoes of a million radio hits and 45 singles past, that carried the evening. Whereas Love’s weathered voice (he turns 75 in March) tempered the Endless Summer vibe of “Good Vibrations” and “Kokomo,” and McDonald’s regal tone on “What A Fool Believes” and “Takin’ It to the Streets” has darkened and mellowed like port wine, Cross’ airy, high-tenor vocals seem almost eerily unaffected by the passage of time.
Cross never came close to repeating the massive success of his first album and the Oscar that came his way for co-writing and singing the theme to the movie “Arthur.” “Radio and tastes change and a lot of my records slipped under the water,” he noted without rancor.
But he’s never stopped making music, and his love for his craft was evident at every turn. And although the encore number, John Lennon’s “Imagine” with all hands on deck, might have been the emotional climax of the evening, it was the effervescent Wall of Sound blitz — strings cranking, choir piping, sax and guitars wailing — of Cross’ breakout hit “Ride Like the Wind” that was the musical high point for this Reviewer Of A Certain Age. You could maybe call it dated. But from my seat, it sounded timeless.
Secret Ladder is a AVAILABLE NOW!
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