CroSSwindZ are blowing across California. Songwriter-Arranger David Mobley and singer-songwriter/guitarist Cliff Turpin are CroSSwindZ. Mobley and Turpin, who have been writing songs for over four decades, have worked with some of the best studio musicians across the country from Los Angeles to New York. Eschewing an opportunity to sign on with The Band back in the 1970s, the tuneful twosome instead decided to strike out on their own.
They released their premiere platter, Better Luck Next Time in 1972. Once known as Cliff & Dave, they chose CroSSwindZ as their new moniker in 2003 with the release of their successful CD Hot Acoustic Nite. Their new release further demonstrates their versatility and previous experience with other artists and entertainment industry professionals.
Their most recent release, the twelve-track Dark Side of Day, is perhaps their best yet. For this recording Mobley (songwriting, production, vocals, keys and guitar) and Turpin (songwriting, co-production, vocals and guitar) enlisted the aid of an assortment of other artists including singer-songwriter Jon DeVohn and guitarist-songwriter Benjamin Fisher. They also enlisted the assistance of: Rob Rahbill and Ronnie Kimball (vocals), Payton Stiles (guitar) and Lynne Timmes Carlock, Emily Horton, Janean Baumal, Angelyse and Kristen Lee (backing vocals).
The result is over 43 minutes of original indie music inspired and influenced by a number of different genres and musicians. The honest album opener, “Superhero Rockstar”, is a strong enough lead-in but only hints at the pair’s collaborative capabilities that explains the overall reality of what they do.
“Two Lovers” is next. This introduces an audience to something a bit more pop-oriented. It’s a Goldilocks cut. It’s not too hard and it’s not too soft. It’s just right.
“Take Me Home Tonight” follows. Not to be confused with the 1986 hit song by Eddie Money, this, like the remainder of the recordings here, is a new and an original song. Here they pick up the pace with a cut that could be catchy if listeners aren’t careful. (Your rascally writer does wonder where they were when they heard him propositioning with his latest lover though . . . and he expects his royalty check for providing the lyrics and title!)
“Casino River” keeps the beat going. Here Mobley and Turpin tell a tuneful tale of an interesting adventure. “What About Tomorrow” is the next number. Here they take a slightly more psychedelic approach as they pose the titular question “What about tomorrow?”
The probing pair continues questioning the future with “Beyond Tonight”. The pace once more slows here as the song opens with a noteworthy piano opening and evokes emotional images. It’s vaguely reminiscent of something that The Eagles or Jackson Browne may have written somehow still remains the boys’ own.
The seventh selection is “This Silent Conversation”. It’s interesting in that it could be either an intimate oration or a bittersweet song-story depending on the timeframe. Either way you listen, it works well alone and on this album. It makes a great, old school-hold-her-tightly-against-slow dance too!
“Homeless” comes right behind it. This one is a moving, heartfelt anthem. “Life’s Like a Highway” also explores the sometimes unexpected downturns some of us face in life. But lest listeners get down or the guys be accused of being even slightly preachy, they switch gears with the rockin’ “Be Your Last Kiss” which harkens back to the 1980s.
Next they slow it down a bit with “If You Loved Me” which continue to amply demonstrate the twosome’s talents to write songs that are somehow familiar and yet different enough to not be derivative. Ah but for rockers the best is yet to come as Mobley and Turpin cut loose and rock out with the closing cut “Movin To the Left”.
Their writing spans several music genres and at times even blends elements from pop, modern country, folk rock and hard rock. Their obvious influences also include America, The Fray and Rascal Flatts. Mind you, each track on The Dark Side Of Day stands out as an obvious example of the combination of Mobley and Turpin (and the musicians with whom they chose to work) that still manages to make each one distinctly their own.
“What About Tomorrow?” For Mobley and Turpin, the performers and producers known as CroSSwindZ, it definitely seems bright.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.