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David Pack's Napa Crossroads

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Album Review

Although he is chiefly remembered as the lead singer for Ambrosia, David Pack's musical career since the mid-'80s has been mostly behind the scenes as a songwriter and producer, and he's been pretty successful at it, having produced work for artists like Selena, Wynonna Judd, Aretha Franklin, and Kenny Loggins, and as a music director, he staged events for both of President Clinton's inaugurals, as well as events for Barbra Streisand, Elton John, and Leonard Bernstein, among others. As a solo artist, he released a solo album post-Ambrosia in 1985, then a trio of albums and a five-song EP between 2004 and 2007, but really nothing since, until this interesting release, a conceptual and production collaboration with several Napa Valley vineyards and featuring guest spots from Ray Manzarek, Béla Fleck, Alan Parsons, Todd Rundgren, Larry Carlton, Rick Braun, and others. In a sense, it's an album-sized commercial for Napa Valley and these specific wineries, but what holds it together as more is the wonderful, warm, and bright production and the fact that the songs, written by people who actually work at these wineries, with Pack's help, are for the most part quite melodic and pleasant, filled with a sun-kissed California glow. Some of the songs have a direct wine or vine-related theme, but not all of them, and the best, which include the joyous and racing opener "O' Blessed Vine" (driven by Béla Fleck's banjo playing), the Doors-like "Silverado Free" (featuring Ray Manzarek's distinctive keyboard playing, one of the last tracks he worked on before his death), and the traditional country-sounding (by way of Bakersfield) "Wine Country Cowboy" (featuring the vocals of Jimmy Wayne), all work outside of the Napa Valley context, even as they draw central metaphors from it. It's a pleasure, too, to hear Pack sing, which is a delight in itself, but a lot of these tracks, however nice they might sound, fall a bit to the generic side of things. It's all a bit sweet, but then, there are worse things. The obvious joy that went into this set redeems it.

Customer Reviews

Excellent CD

Love all of David Pack's work. Great CD! Thank you David for more good music.

Great collaborative musical adventure!

The variety of artists, attention to history, and the ability to bring out the best from all involved is quite impressive. Add in the last recordings of the late-great Ray Manzarek and this is a must-have!

Sound unheard...

David Pack is one of the great vocalists of my generation. I buy any project he's involved with sight unseen and sound unheard. He's been part of the soundtrack of my life for decades. Thanks for the music David!


Born: July 15, 1952 in Huntington Park, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Before he embarked on a solo career, David Pack was firmly entrenched in the core of the soft rock movement of the mid-'70s into the early '80s as the lead singer for Ambrosia. His first solo endeavor in 1985 failed to live up to the quality and caliber of Ambrosia's releases, but did spawn the hit "I Just Can't Let Go," which featured guest vocalists James Ingram and Michael McDonald. After close to two decades behind the scenes producing and writing songs for other artists, he returned to performing...
Full Bio
David Pack's Napa Crossroads, David Pack
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Customer Ratings