Shane Fontayne/Todd Caldwell - Moseley Folk/Arts Festival, Moseley, UK (? time/2nd act)
Fri Sep 01 2023 at 04:00 pm
Moseley Park | Birmingham, EN
AdvertisementGRAHAM NASH - 60 Years of Songs & Stories
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1st, 2023.
NOW, the aptly-titled new studio album from legendary artist Graham Nash, is a stunning collection that stays true to his near six-decade mission: observing the human experience through the lens of a Northern boy and contributing a wealth of songs to the soundtrack of our lives.
The new songs on NOW are worthy additions to the canon of a two-time inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a body of work that American Songwriter magazine calls “just as significant today as they were when written some 50 years ago.” The new songs range from the intensely political rallying cry of “Stand Up” and scorching indictment of MAGA in “Golden Idols” to the bitterly ironic “Stars and Stripes.” As Nash says, “just tell me the truth, stop lying and stop trying to create division between people all over the world, just tell me the truth. The stars and stripes are waving, but they’re waving goodbye to the truth.”
There is the fervent hope that we are leaving the kids “A Better Life,” but there is also the messy ego-driven rock and roll parade recollection of “I Watched It All Go Down” (cf. “reflector shades and telegrams at dawn”). At the other end of the rock and roll spectrum is “Buddy’s Back,” a driving homage and celebration of the enduring influence of both Buddy Holly and the Hollies in Nash’s life, with Hollies co-founder Allan Clarke on harmony vocals. In fact, both Nash and Clarke have recorded this new song (with Nash reciprocating harmony on the upcoming Clarke version), which harkens back to that Christmas 1962, when they gave the Hollies its name.
The centerpiece of NOW is “In A Dream,” an evocative suite that reimagines “Pastoral” by the famed Alan Price (of the Animals), a piano theme he wrote for the film “O Lucky Man!” (1973), now incorporating a string quintet recorded live with Nash in Brooklyn. The idea of finding words for Price’s beautiful melody appealed to Nash, “because my life is a dream,” he says. “Since I was eighteen years old, I’ve been able to do exactly what I wanted to do with my life, which is insanely lucky, and for which I am grateful. I wake up in the morning, I get on with my life, I check the news around the world, check with my friends, and I write about stuff that I need to write about. I’m a songwriter.”
Heartbeats, heartaches and souls-entwined elevate “In A Dream,” one of several love songs on the new album, along with “Follow Your Heart,” “Right Now,” “Love Of Mine,” “When It Comes To You,” and a country-flavored tune co-written decades ago with CSN drummer Joe Vitale, “Feels Like Home,” that is now seeing light of day. As Nash says, “this is the most personal record that I’ve done.”
NOW was produced by Nash and keyboardist Todd Caldwell, who has worked alongside Nash for the better part of a decade. Much of the album’s fretwork is anchored by longtime Nash collaborator, guitarist Shane Fontayne (producer of 2016’s This Path Tonight, Nash’s previous studio album). Caldwell and Fontayne led the band for Graham Nash: Live, recorded in 2019 and released in 2022, in which he revisited the Songs For Beginners and Wild Tales albums in concert settings, each record in its entirety, their songs in familiar sequence. “[He] still sounds the way you want him to sound,” Relix noted. “Considering that the two albums he recreates here date from the early ’70s, that’s pretty remarkable. But just as important, if not more so, is the fact that the 20 songs he remade here in 2019, with a full band, are every bit as poignant as they were when they were new.”
From Live’s band, guitarist Thad DeBrock and drummer Toby Caldwell are heard on NOW, joined by bassist/drummer Adam Minkoff. Caldwell arranged the string quintet for “Theme from Pastoral/In A Dream;” the same quintet is heard on “I Watched It All Go Down.” The new album was mixed by Grammy Award® winner Kevin Killen and mastered by Grammy Award® winner Bob Ludwig.
As a historical footnote, the release of NOW in the spring of 2023 coincides with the 60th anniversary of the first two British chart singles by the Hollies, their covers of the Coasters’ “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me” and “Searchin’.” Nash’s remarkable body of work as a songwriter would begin with his contributions to the Hollies’ British Invasion opus from 1964 to ’68, including “Stop Stop Stop,” “On A Carousel,” “Carrie Anne,” “King Midas In Reverse” and “Jennifer Eccles,” to name a few.
The classic songs that later emerged from the first 20-month union of Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young) are likewise embedded in our DNA, starting with Nash’s “Marrakesh Express,” “Pre-Road Downs” and “Lady of the Island” from the first Crosby, Stills & Nash LP (1969); and Nash’s iconic “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” (for Joni Mitchell) from CSNY’s Déjà Vu (1970). Nash’s “Just A Song Before I Go” and “Wasted On the Way” are solidly identified with CSN’s later years.
Nash’s solo career took flight in 1971, with Songs For Beginners (“Chicago/We Can Change the World,” “Military Madness,” “Better Days,” “I Used To Be A King,” “Simple Man”); and Wild Tales in 1974 (“Prison Song,” “Oh! Camil,” “You’ll Never Be the Same”). His collaboration with David Crosby (spanning the ’70s-’00s, the longest of any of the CSN partnerships) had many high-points, especially the Nash-penned “Southbound Train” and “Immigration Man.”
A true renaissance man, Nash’s passionate voice is frequently heard in support of peace, social and environmental justice. The No Nukes/Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts he organized with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in 1979 set a high bar for benefit events. In 2010, Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth
In September 2013, Nash published his long-awaited autobiography, aptly titled Wild Tales, which delivers an engrossing, no-holds-barred look back at his remarkable career and the music that defined a generation. The book landed him on the New York Times Best Sellers list and was released in paperback in 2014.
Nash—a photographer since age ten—today is internationally renowned for his work, which is shown in galleries and museums worldwide. His honors include the New York Institute of Technology’s Arts & Technology Medal and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and the Hollywood Film Festival’s inaugural Hollywood Visionary Cyber Award. His company Nash Editions’ original IRIS 3047 digital printer and one of its first published works—Nash’s 1969 portrait of David Crosby—are now housed in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. A collection of his photos is featured in the book A Life in Focus: The Photography of Graham Nash which was released in November 2021 by Insight Editions.
Nash’s lifelong commitment to his work is unwavering. His inspiration is simple: “All the things we stood for, that love is better than hatred, that peace is better than war, that we have to take care of our fellow human beings, because that’s all we have on this planet—those things are still true today. I need to know that I’ve brought something into the world that was positive and not negative.”
Where is it happening?Moseley Park, Alcester Rd,Birmingham, United Kingdom
Event Location & Nearby Stays: