(RED BANK, NJ) -- The legendary Graham Nash - a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee - comes to the Count Basie Center for the Arts on Wednesday, July 13 at 7:30pm. As a founding member of both the Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash, Graham Nash is one who has seen rock history unfold at some of its seminal moments.
Graham Nash was there from the launch of the British Invasion (that’s him on-screen in 1967, eyewitness to the Beatles global broadcast performance of “All You Need Is Love” from Abbey Road studios) to the birth of the Laurel Canyon movement a year later. An extraordinary Grammy Award® winning renaissance artist – and self-described “simple man” – Nash was inducted twice into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, for his work with CSN and his work as a solo artist, beginning with two landmark albums, Songs For Beginners and Wild Tales.
Now in 2022, comes Graham Nash: Live, a unique project released on May 6, on which he revisits those first two classic solo albums in live concert settings recorded in 2019, each in its entirety with their songs in familiar sequence. Nash was joined on stage by a seven-piece band led by his longtime collaborators, Shane Fontayne (guitar and vocals) and Todd Caldwell (keyboards and vocals), The album was mixed by Grammy Award® winner Kevin Killen and mastered by Grammy Award® winner Bob Ludwig.
Towering above virtually everything that Graham Nash has accomplished in his long and multi-faceted career, stands the litany of songs that he has written and introduced to the soundtrack of our lives for nearly six decades. “The art of songwriting,” he has said, “to people who enjoy music but don’t write music, is very mysterious. I’m not even sure how I can describe what I go through. I wake up in the morning, I’m alive, I get on with my day, I check the news from around the world, I check the local newspapers, I check what’s going on with my friends, and I write about my life, that’s all I’ve been doing all my life.”
Graham Nash: Live is already garnering early critical acclaim, with Consequence of Sound hailing it as “a beautiful set” while Stereogum raves that Nash’s “crystalline voice has driven his own songs and elevated the songs of other musicians.” American Songwriter adds that “many, if not all of his songs, are just as significant and worthy today as they were when they’d been written some 50 years ago.”
Nash’s career as a solo artist took flight in 1971, with these two seminal albums showcasing the depths of his abilities as a singer and songwriter. His solo debut Songs For Beginners includes the hits “Simple Man,” “Chicago/We Can Change the World” and “Military Madness,” and Wild Tales, released in 1974, features “Prison Song,” “Oh! Camil” and “You’ll Never Be the Same.” While the songs on these albums are largely autobiographical—dissecting Nash’s relationship and subsequent breakup with Joni Mitchell, recalling his 3,000-mile sea voyage with David Crosby from Florida to San Francisco by way of the Panama Canal, and remembering his parents—they also show the depth and breadth of Nash’s songwriting and storytelling, chronicling society’s frayed edges during the Vietnam era, championing the defense of free speech, calling for prison reform as well as political reform and more.
“I’ve been trying to figure out why Songs For Beginners and Wild Tales [were] so popular and I think it’s that intimacy and that immediacy of my emotions,” explains Nash. He goes on to note, “We’re supposed to learn from history and it doesn’t appear as if we’re learning much. Songs like ‘Military Madness’…is that not relevant today? The hope that we can change the world, isn’t that still relevant today? I’m very flattered that my music seems to have lasted this long, but I’m also a little upset that we have to keep singing a song like ‘Military Madness’ right up to the present. Enough already!”
In celebration of the new record, Nash is touring the U.S. throughout 2022 accompanied by longtime collaborator and This Path Tonight (Nash’s 2016 solo album) producer Shane Fontayne on guitars and vocals, and former CSN keyboard player and vocalist Todd Caldwell. Nash and friends will perform songs from his days in the Hollies through his years with Crosby, Stills & Nash and from his beloved solo recordings, weaving anecdotes and tales from his 50-year career throughout the evening.
In addition to his two Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions (with Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Hollies), he was inducted twice into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well—as a solo artist and with CSN—and he is also a Grammy Award winner. Towering above virtually everything that Graham Nash has accomplished in his multifaceted career stands the litany of songs that he has written and introduced to the soundtrack of the past half century. His remarkable body of work, beginning with his contributions to the Hollies catalog, continues all the way to This Path Tonight (2016), his most recent solo album.
His passionate voice has long been heard in support of peace and social and environmental justice. The No Nukes/Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts he organized with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in 1979 remain seminal benefit events. In September 2013, Nash released his long-awaited autobiography Wild Tales, which landed him on the New York Times Best Sellers list. In recognition for his contributions as a musician and philanthropist, Nash was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. While continually building his musical legacy, Nash is also an internationally renowned photographer and visual artist whose work has been shown in galleries and museums worldwide, and his photography has drawn honors including the New York Institute of Technology’s Arts & Technology Medal, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and the Hollywood Film Festival’s inaugural Hollywood Visionary Cyber Award. Most recently Nash released A Life In Focus: The Photography Of Graham Nash (via Insight Editions), in which he reflects on more than fifty years of an extraordinary life in an extensive collection of personal photographs and artistic stills.
The Count Basie Center for the Arts is located at 99 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Photo courtesy of Sacks & Co.