At age 26, both Jeff Crosby's hair and his songs are shorter. Coupled with a move with his band, The Refugees, to L.A. in 2010, the latter seems to have shortened his path to success as well. Crunchy psychedelic jams had given way to bluesy, roots-rock Americana well-suited to his melodic, raspy vocals and knack for storytelling. For Sons of Anarchy fans, Crosby's voice helped tell SAMCRO's story, too: Two songs off Jeff Crosby and The Refugees' 2013 EP, Silent Conversations (Cosmo Sex School, which is rocker Jerry Joseph's record label), were featured in the current season of the popular TV show. Crosby said Curtis Stiger, who sings the SOA theme song, made the connection.
"I did Curtis' [Xtreme] Holiday Xtravaganza last year," Crosby said. "After the show, he said, 'So, you're living in L.A. now. When you get back, buy Bob Thiele [SOA music supervisor] a cup of coffee. Trust me.'"
Whether in L.A. or on the road, Idaho is always home. While he was staying at a farm in Mendocino, Calif., for a couple of weeks, Crosby got the idea for something that would connect him to his home state in a whole new way: a Jeff Crosby and The Refugees-inspired beer.
"My wife and I have always been fans of Jeff," said Matt Ganz, co-owner and co-brewer of Salmon River Brewery in McCall. "We remember watching him play at Crusty's [Pizza, in McCall] after school."
So when Crosby called Ganz with the idea of a new brew, Ganz was quick to agree. Crosby sent Ganz some California white sage from the farm, which Ganz infused into a new beer. The result is Jeff Crosby and The Refugees Refugee Pale Ale, a light-orange brew with a subtle flavor. Crosby and The Refugees are headed back to Idaho this week for a handful of shows in McCall, Boise and the Wood River Valley, dubbed the Thank You Tour--there will be a keg of Refugee Pale Ale at each show.
"It's Thanksgiving and we want to thank everyone [in Idaho] for all of their love and support over the years," Crosby said.
Ganz has reason to celebrate, too: Salmon River Brewery is moving into cool new digs in the old train station, just down the street from its current location in McCall. SRB will reopen before Christmas, and plans to break ground on a new brewery in spring 2014. Friday, Nov. 22, SRB says goodbye to the old location with an acoustic set from Crosby and hello to the first keg of Refugee Pale Ale. Saturday, Nov. 23, Crosby and The Refugees will play a sold-out show at McCall's Alpine Playhouse, then Reef Friday, Nov. 29, followed by the WRV.