Started as an acoustic coffeehouse duo, the Counting Crows bring the music back to their roots for a new headlining tour. With a mandolin here and a piano solo there, the tour supporting the 2002 release Hard Candy became a nearly 80-minute, heavy acoustic set. The Crows will be making a landing at USF’s Sun Dome Saturday night with special guest Leona Naess.
The Crows formed back in 1990 when singer Adam Duritz and guitarist David Bryson began playing acoustic shows in coffeehouses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Three years later, the Crows were introduced to the world via DCG Records.
The ’93 release August and Everything After included the fame-foreshadowing single, “Mr. Jones.” In the debut single, Duritz craves fan attention everywhere by singing, “When I look at the television/I wanna see me/Staring right back at me.”
Combining a formula built for overnight success with a catchy single and steady television and radio rotation, the Crows could have faded into one-hit wonder oblivion.
However, they managed to dip in and out of the mainstream, leaving fans satisfied but not overwhelmed.
Throughout the years, the Crows continued to pump out emotionally charged music.
The ’96 release, Recovering the Satellites, yielded the singles, “Angels of Silences” and the more solemn, “A Long December.”
The band followed Satellites with the lukewarm This Desert Life. This album, as superfluous as it may have been, hinted at the Crows’ new poppy direction.
After surviving nearly a decade in the music industry, the Crows found the need to strive toward perfection in the next release.
Recording in broken studio sessions and working with three producers, Hard Candy emerged.
The meticulous attention to detail shines through not only in the music but also in Duritz’s songwriting.
When hearing his descriptions, listeners are not told how to feel. They actually feel it.
On Hard Candy’s “Holiday in Spain,” a hangover is described as “Someone stole my shoes/There’s a couple of bananas and a bottle of booze.”
Appropriately enough, special guest Leona Naess also possesses honest and eloquent song writing.
Her 2000 release Comatised included the pop/folk single “Charm Attack,” along with eleven other tracks good for dancing and weeping with, collectively.
For her forthcoming self-titled CD, Naess kept the same indie style but seemed to stick with upbeat music and happy lyrics. Her last record contained more hostile songs which may have been caused by a broken heart while this one seems more uplifting.
With her coffeehouse folk sound and honest songwriting, Naess is the perfect addition to the Crow’s tour.
The Counting Crows and Leona Naess performs at the Sun Dome on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30. Tickets are $37.50.