Crooks co-produced The Department of the West with Danny Allen (Baby Buck Studio, High Diving Horses) and recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studio in San Francisco. Allen also played guitars, ukulele and banjo on the album, and was joined by Mike Stevens (The Uptones, Sun Kil Moon) on drums and percussion, Kevin T. White (Chuck Prophet, Shelby Lynne) on bass. Longtime collaborator Kwame Copeland (Bay Station, Straw Coyotes) as well as Heather Davison (Loretta Lynch), Maurice Tani and Maryam Qudus also contributed backing vocals. The recording was mixed and engineered by Qudus (Tune-Yards, Kronos Quartet) and mastered by Piper Payne (Infrasonic Sound).
A native Californian, personal and natural history have long informed Crooks' writing. She's also cofounded Bay Station along with its Love the Bay music and sailing video series.