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Monday, February 15, 2016

Graham Nash Interview: New Album, Tour, CSN and Neil Young

Graham Nash

Graham Nash has a new album titled This Path Tonight and is now on on tour.

Here's an interview with Graham Nash on Yahoo | Music by Jon Wiederhorn:
Nash wrote This Path Tonight with Crosby, Stills & Nash second guitarist Shane Fontayne during a one-month period in 2015 and recorded the 13 songs in just eight days in the studio. Those tunes were pared down from 20 full compositions the pair wrote between CS&N tours. “I had so many songs running around my head driving me crazy and I had to get them out,” Nash says. “I was inspired by my personal life being so chaotic. There was a lot going on within me and major changes that I felt I wanted to write about.

That Nash is so upfront about his life and so candid in his lyrics is surprising, because he has cherished his privacy since Crosby, Stills & Nash became popular after the release of their 1969 self-titled debut. Prolific as a songwriter and photographer, but reticent in public, Nash would much rather be an anonymous artist than an attention-seeking celebrity.

“I’ve always tried to remain behind the scenes,” he says. “I like to be invisible. It’s the same approach I’ve taken as a photographer, and it has spilled over into other areas of my life. I’m just not a socially adept person. I do check Instagram, but I’m not on Facebook, I’m not on Twitter. I don’t have enough time for the real friends that I have.”

There’s a good reason Nash is cautious about what he says these days in public and in the press. In September 2014, during an interview for the Ohio Statesman, Nash’s bandmate Crosby called Neil Young’s girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah, a “purely poisonous predator.” The move incensed Young, who told Howard Stern “a [CSN&Y reunion] will never happen. Not in a million years.” Nash, who played 80 shows with Crosby and Stephen Stills last year, won’t say anything specific about Crosby’s comments, but he remains friends with Young and is hopeful that they may work together again.

“I last spoke to Neil [in November] at his [70th] birthday party,” Nash says. “He invited me. Neil has always been very kind to me and very cognizant of the fact that I want to stay focused on the music rather than the personalities involved. I think he invited me to let me know he was still my friend regardless of his relationship with David Crosby.”

As for Crosby, having worked on and off with him since 1968, Nash understands his bandmate’s quirks, but insists the strength of their chemistry far outweighs any tension between them. “The truth is that David and I have been friends for so many years,” Nash says. “Sometimes it’s calm and sometimes it’s chaotic, but it’s life.”

To grease the wheels for the release of This Path Tonight, Nash will launch a tour that stars Jan. 27 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and runs through Feb. 26 in New York City. After the album comes out, Nash will hit the road again, starting in Austin, Texas on May 5 before he heads to the U.K.

“I enjoy playing my songs onstage because I really feel like I’m speaking to a lot of people with my music, and especially with this new album,” Nash says. “I don’t feel like a rock star. I really feel like I am [the same as] everybody. I just happen to make music, and I’ll be creating it until they put me in my grave. I’ll be creating as they close the lid.”

Full interview with Graham Nash on Yahoo | Music by Jon Wiederhorn.


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At 2/15/2016 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Makes no mention of his impending divorce from Susan Nash (38 years) and his new lady Amy Grantham a photographer - responsible for the cover of the new record. Crosby's spate with Neil looks like it will ensure we'll never see CSNY again. Nash is playing smaller venues (Union Chapel) whilst Neil has failed to fill the O2 this year.

Nash is too earnest for my liking and like Crosby I didn't rate the self indulgent book Wild Tales.

At 2/15/2016 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Andy - Actually, this is just a clip from interview. In the full interview linked:

"The greatest recent change for Nash was separating from his wife of 38 years, Susan Sennett, and starting up again with his new girlfriend, Amy Grantham. “I fell in love with this wonderful person in New York City and my life has changed,” Nash reveals. “People are going to have to understand that. On my next birthday I’ll be 74 years old, and I need to be happy with whatever life I have left. So this album is a complete reflection of my life changing and me having the courage to go on with it.”

At 2/15/2016 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Thanks TW. Perhaps a tour with Neil in the future to assist. Nash always appeared to be the most settled, having read his book it does give you the impression that he's very pleased with himself and his career.

At 2/15/2016 11:25:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

It's a trapeze act and tight rope walk through marriage. If you haven't found happiness in life by the time you're 74, after 38 years in marriage, you're fooling yourself about what real happiness is. I just hope someone is there to break the fall, soften the blow, ease the pain, when a person is suddenly abandoned by a spouse who was cheating on them.

At 2/17/2016 06:02:00 PM, Blogger Eric said...

You got it Mother Nature. Look what you started Neil. You stay with a woman for nearly 40 years and you are now falling in love with another woman and finding real happiness? Give me a break. Watch yourself David, or you may be asking Neil for advice, instead of delivering condemnation.

At 2/18/2016 12:15:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

I don't quite agree abut Nash being too earnest. I'm having a hard time imagining what "too earnest" actually looks like or means. Out of CSNY, he's my favorite personality besides Neil and if I'm honest, Graham Nash would probably be easier to get along with than Neil Young in some regards. I have to admit that I wasn't blown away by David's "Croz" album. It didn't do much for me at all, although Deja Vu is one of my favorite CSNY songs and I liked his songs on "Looking Forward" as far as I remember, in particular Prayer for Him. As for Stephen Stills, he's amazing in a number of ways, but I have a feeling he could drive me up the wall on a personal level.

I'm glad Nash has a new album upcoming. I have Songs for Beginners (an interesting album) and I may go about filling in my collection with his other solo albums at some point, or at least Wild Tales. Regarding that one, I'd like to both hear the album and read the book! It's a little unfortunate that one of Nash's best known CSNY songs is probably Our House, which, to be honest, can be cloying (although I've found it rewards getting past the chorus and giving the rest of the song a chance). I like Teach Your Children (b-side to Ohio, if memory is working), and Military Madness is a great anti-war anthem, as demonstrated on the 2006 Freedom of Speech Tour. Hard to believe that's almost ten years ago now.

As to Nash's, or anybody's personal life, I tend to refrain from judgment. I'm ultimately more interested in the art produced. I believe that's our domain as an audience.

At 2/18/2016 02:37:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

I know what too earnest sounds like and that's when Nash talks about CSN and his back catalogue. After Wild Tales you're missimg nothing.

You can't separate the personal life as many of his songs are about his loves. I'll let you know after I see him in May.

Have you read the book Wild Tales ? Smug Tales.

At 2/18/2016 03:23:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

I'd substitute the words "too earnest" with "too eager" to please. Generally speaking I feel he means well, but to me he's always been the politician of the group. I don't doubt his core beliefs, but I think at times he's more than a little disingenuous, and really just wants to give the people (fans) what they want.

When held up under the microscope of fame, that becomes too saccharine to really be taken seriously. Of the group, he's the only one that could really function well with the PTA or any other generic suburbia group of us normals...

Take my advice
don't listen to me

At 2/18/2016 09:09:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Andy Walters--You can always separate the art from the life. For instance, in Neil's Storytone, I try to look at the songs outside of the context of his new relationship, looking at the lyrics just as depictions of humans in relationships and emotional experiences the we can all relate to. I like to start with the music and lyrics themselves. It's what English majors and literary critics call formalism. I guess the trickier question is whether that gives you a full view of the artist. But then, are we trying to understand the art, the artist, or some mixture of both? Where do you draw the line between the two? A Neil Young blog is probably not the place to get into heavy theoretical discussion, but suffice it to say that you could really go down the rabbit hole with this. I could probably pick apart my own generalized statements here, but the point is, you can look at a piece of art without having all of the biographical details of the artist and, at least if it's good art, I think you'll still come away with something worthwhile. Your perspective may be even broader than it would by using a purely biographical lens. Lastly, I'd just say that if any of Nash's (or anybody's songs) resist this formalistic approach, it's not the ones about love, but the topical ones about very specific political issues and figures of the time.

@Topanga Days--
I see your points. Nash does always seem like the most grounded, down-to-earth of the bunch, which may be why I like him in general. Then again, someone who's always inoffensive to everyone can also be dull. Not that it's a good thing to be offensive or inflammatory per se, but that we generally like people to be genuine/truthful. We also admire strong individuals who aren't afraid to show themselves for who they are, and if being genuine is offensive to some people, oh well (within reasonable limits, of course).

Within CSNY, he does have the natural role of the mediator and the PR guy. A group of volatile personalities like C, S, and Y probably needs a personality like that who can bring everyone together, and it's not a bad trait to be a uniter. He's also seemingly put more into curating CSNY's legacy than the others, for instance with the CSNY '74 set a couple of years ago. I believe he's curated box sets for himself, Crosby, and Stills. (We all know that Young has his own archival chaos.) Overall I'm inclined to cut Nash a little slack given the mercurial personal dynamics of CSNY and, of course, a fan base that can, to be honest, be a little demanding at times.

At 2/19/2016 01:39:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Ian, a good reply balanced and thoughtful. My problem with Nash is that when I hear him talking about hos songwriting it's as if he has the back catalogue of Young. He hasn't, after Wild Tales 1973 there's nothing solo only a couple of reasonable C&N records notably the superb Wind On The Water.

At 2/19/2016 11:30:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Funny that you mention Storytone. A few weeks ago I found myself re-visiting it and it had an emotional resonance that initially completely bypassed me. Neil's musical vision tends to reveal itself over time as distance from the day to day trivialities and expectations move behind us.

As I listened quietly and alone at night, my heart and mind were filled with thoughts of love, life and death and permanence. While the music played, memories and hopes for the future were battling it out within me. As my inner voice was activated, I was also seeing and feeling Neil on his personal journey and was overjoyed that his words and music have always been there for me. While these thoughts played out, tears were in my eyes--for what was, for what will never be, and for what is...

Thank you Mr. Young...

Take my advice
don't listen to me

At 2/20/2016 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Folks: lots of good conversation here on Graham. as always, thanks for your insightful observations. As we so often say, Neil fans (& TW readers) are some of the most astute & knowledgeable music lovers in the world and we're honored to have you here as a regular reader.

At 2/20/2016 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ Ian - " A Neil Young blog is probably not the place to get into heavy theoretical discussion, but suffice it to say that you could really go down the rabbit hole with this."

Hey, this is a perfect venue for it and we welcome and encourage the depth. You know. Something more engaging and satisfying than those short attention span anti-social networks. Not to point fingers or anything... :)

At 2/20/2016 12:22:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ TopangaD - very moving words. It is this exact sentiment which captured us so very long ago in the days that used to be. All in a dream that never dies...

At 2/20/2016 04:31:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

I must get Storytone out again! I filed it early doors with FITR.

Nash's role in CSN + Y is interesting, I always thought he used it as a vehicle to enhance his own mythical status because the sings aren't there. Songs for Beginners & Wild Tales are pretty good but Stills up to 1972 was the main man - MANASSAS stands head and shoulders above most of their solo work until Neils golden era 70-79.

Nash is a talented chap but I just think his ego and myth has been massaged by the inflated legend of CSNY (CSN debut, Deja Vu........there's nothing else).

At 2/20/2016 07:55:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@Andy: Just keep an open mind about Storytone. It's not an all-time classic by any means, but it's better lyrically and melodically than many other recent works, and the confessional like quality on many of the songs is hitting me. I think I'm finding myself much more "in tune" with Neil's introspection these days. He's much better looking inward...

Plastic Flowers
I'm Glad I Found You

"The way life treats us is a blessing and a curse--
I’m glad I found you"

At 2/21/2016 04:08:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Andy Walters--I see your point. Along with solo albums, you have to factor in Nash's continued work with CSN+Y (I like the "+Y" affection--it's a good way of showing Neil's degree of involvement with CSN) and the Crosby/Nash albums over the years. But by and large, none of CSN individually has the back catalogue or resume of projects to match Neil Young. They all look like they don't work that much when compared to him, or like they lack artistic direction and focus without the Muse. It's not necessarily fair to compare them but, how can you not?

Topanga Daze--Those are great observations on Storyone. I know the orchestral approach wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I generally liked it. Moreover I think the album is one of Neil's most complete pieces of work in a while, as regards structure and theme, which makes for substantial and satisfying listening for me. The favorites have just about coalesced:

Plastic Flowers
Say Hello to Chicago
All Those Dreams

It's a good album and I hope NY fans can give it a chance. The themes should resonate a bit more universally than is the case for a topical piece like the Monsanto Years? How many album titles do you know of that actually have a real company or organization's name in them?

At 2/21/2016 07:02:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Sorry guys I admire your staunch efforts to support Storytone.....but no it's a stinker!

At 2/21/2016 11:31:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Andy: While it's not the Neil album I'd choose to defend if my life depended on it, it's becoming an album I can go to when I want to feel both vulnerable and secure at the same time.

Like Neil's music in general, much of its success (or failure) depends on the listeners mood and expectations.

Take my advice
don't listen to me


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