His clear, soaring tenor is the voice behind some of the most memorable hits ever recorded; as a partner in Seals & Crofts, Dash Crofts made songs like “Summer Breeze,” “Diamond Girl,” “Hummingbird,” “Get Closer” and “We May Never Pass This Way Again” indelible pieces of the popular music lexicon. Throughout the 70s and early 80s, the pair pioneered a fusion of rock, jazz and country with classical influences, creating a sound that helped define and direct an entire genre. On most of the duo’s recordings, Dash carried the higher vocal parts and contributed solos and rhythm parts on acoustic and electric mandolin. Their unique vocal blend, ethereal, poignant lyrics and well-conceived arrangements earned them a loyal, world-wide following and enduring popularity—Seals & Crofts’ nineteen gold and platinum albums continue to sell, and their songs remain radio staples.
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A native of north-central Texas, Dash Crofts began his career as a drummer. He first met and played music with Jim Seals while still in junior high school. Both moved to California in the mid-60s, and soon joined The Champs. The group toured the world on the strength of their instant classic, “Tequila,” eventually disbanding in 1966. Seals and Crofts went their separate ways—Dash spent the next few years working with several bands and playing on sessions—but circumstances brought the two longtime friends together again at the dawn of the next decade. Each had undergone considerable musical evolution during the interim. Jim’s sharpened compositional focus meshed perfectly with Dash’s well-developed mandolin style, and the vocal blend was pure magic. Billing themselves as Seals & Crofts, the duo began packing venues coast to coast and quickly earned the attention of major record labels. The rest, of course, is history.
In 1980, Jim and Dash were joined in the studio by two heavyweights from the jazz world, Chick Corea and Stanley Clark. Dash, whose love of jazz and classical music began early in life, still considers the experience a career highlight. During the same period, his pioneering use of the solid-body mandolin as a blues instrument was recognized by his nomination as a member of the Gibson Hall of Fame (Gibson Musical Instruments).
The early 90s found Seals & Crofts’ appeal (and energy) undiminished. Their 11-month tour, with a guest list that included the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Flora Purim, Buffy Saint-Marie, Airto and Dan Seals was a genre-spanning, smashing success. Beginning in Toronto and ending in Haifa, Israel, much of the tour was videotaped. In 1992, Dash performed as a solo artist on a worldwide satellite hookup from New York City. Backed by a full symphony orchestra and 400-voice choir, his performance earned an invitation to perform in Moscow, Russia, Muldavia and the Ukraine. Bookings continued to accumulate, and Dash eventually appeared in nearly every European country as well as in Australia and Mainland China.
Following a 1998 tour, Dash, who’d relocated to Nashville, turned his thoughts to recording a solo album. By this time, legendary studio guitarist Louie Shelton, who’d produced all of Seals & Crofts’ hits, was also living in Music City, and the two began formulating ideas for the project. They welcomed the inevitable influence of their earlier work on the new music, but were anxious to include elements that reflected the musical and personal growth each had experienced since those storied recordings were made. The result is DASH CROFTS TODAY, a stunning collection of songs written with Jim Seals and Louie Shelton featuring his unmistakable lead vocals and breathtaking harmonies. A stellar guest list includes remarkable talents like saxophonist Jeffrey Scott Wills, vocalist Tabitha Fair and, of course, Louie Shelton on acoustic and electric guitar. A special treat for Dash (and listeners!) is the appearance of his daughter, Lua Crofts, as a background vocalist.
For those who still feel an emotional tug anytime their radio sparkles with the opening strains of a Seals & Crofts hit, and for new listeners just discovering the magic of Dash’s musical world, DASH CROFTS TODAY will undoubtedly become a favorite. And the history of popular music can add another page from one of its icons.
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