Monday was Veterans Day, and it was also Marshall Crenshaw’s 60th birthday.
It’s a milestone that the singer-songwriter would just as soon let slip by unnoticed.
“It’s just another birthday,” he says over the phone from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley. “Obviously, I’m not young anymore, but turning 60 doesn’t bother me that much. My 50s were pretty good, and I’m feeling great, so hopefully there’ll be more of the same in my 60s.”
So far so good.
Crenshaw is still churning out viable music, eschewing full-length albums these days in favor of three- or four-song EPs. And he’s playing a handful of live dates through the end of the year.
He played John Lennon in the road show of “Beatlemania” in 1976. He portrayed Buddy Holly in the 1987 film “La Bamba.” And he had a Top 40 hit in 1982 with “Someday, Someway.”
The Detroit native has 10 albums to his credit. Several of his songs have been covered by other artists, including “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time,” “Whenever You’re On My Mind” and “Some Hearts.” He also penned the title track to the 2007 film “Walk Hard,” snaring a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Since then, though, the music industry has undergone dramatic changes. Today, streaming services are booming and vinyl sales (incredibly) are up, but CD sales are at an all-time low, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Short-attention-span listeners are spurning albums for hot-at-the-moment singles.
“It’s anybody’s game now,” Crenshaw says. “Making an album these days is a real struggle, because you have to stockpile songs and pay for expensive studio time. It can be a two-year ordeal.
“This approach of making EPs and sprinkling them throughout the year keeps it fresh and up to the minute. You can get your music out quicker. I put them out on vinyl and we insert download cards in them. It’s all mostly for the people who are interested in my stuff.”
“From an artistic side, I’m having fun with it,” he says. “I have some gear in the back room of our barn, and surprisingly the quality is pretty high. I’m loving it.”
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