For Graham Nash, the voice is still strong - Orange County Register
The living and breathing rock ’n’ roll history book – better known as Graham Nash – has no plans to write a final chapter any time soon.
The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is still writing, recording, performing, touring and even excelling in other hobbies, such as photography. For a man whose father died at age 46, Nash, now 76, said he sees every day as an opportunity to do more.
"Quite frankly, I look at the age my father died the way that I think everyone does when they lose a parent at a certain age; we all wonder if we are going to go out around the same time," said Nash in a recent phone interview, "And yet, here I am, way past my 46th birthday, with no intentions of stopping and raising my voice when I think it should be heard."
Currently on a U.S. tour for his latest album, "This Path Tonight," released in April, Nash and his longtime collaborator and producer Shane Fontayne have stops at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa on Saturday, April 1 and the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside on Friday, April 7.
Nash’s early success includes the 1960s band the Hollies, which played a heavy part in the British Invasion with hit songs such as "Just One Look," "Look Through Any Window" and "Bus Stop." A selection of these songs will be performed by Nash and Fontayne in the intimate show.
"I want to give my audience value for their money; it’s hard to earn a dollar lately, and the fact that people are giving up their hard-earned money to come and see me is a great compliment," said Nash. "I will play a vast selection of my old stuff and new stuff, so they will hear what they want to hear. On our last stop, I opened with ‘Bus Stop’ and made it all the way through to tracks of my new records."
The British-born Nash may be best known for the 1970s folk rock trio Crosby, Stills and Nash, which included American singer-songwriters David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Neil Young also joined forces for a time. The supergroup saw explosive success, playing the iconic 1969 Woodstock festival and receiving a Grammy Award for best new artist in 1970 for their self-titled debut album with hits like "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."
In September 2013, Nash released his autobiography, "Wild Tales," which gives an in-depth illustration of his career, former and current band members and personal struggles and triumphs. Pulling from his vault of over 50 years of music, Nash will perform a large selection of new and fan-favorite tunes, as well as tell stories of his career and songwriting process.
"Albums and songs for me are a way of clearing up the cobwebs in my soul and my brain, and ‘This Path Tonight’ managed to clear up a lot of cobwebs in my life," said Nash, "It’s an album that reflects what I was going through personally in my life at that time, and I’m very proud of the fine album Shane and I made."
The 10-song album is Nash’s first solo record of new music in 14 years. Songs such as "Cracks in the City" demonstrate his same distinguished folk-pop vocals and new writing inspirations – the song takes place in New York City, where he recently moved in with his fiancé, 37-year-old Amy Gantham.
"(‘Cracks in the City’) was written on a walk I was taking in New York City. It was nighttime, the lights were flashing, there was steam coming out of the manhole covers, buildings were being built and workmen were working like crazy," said Nash, "And I thought maybe if we listen to our hearts a lot more, we will be open to everything the world has to offer. This song is about how I’m open to everything the city has to offer me."
Aside from music, Nash clears his cobwebs with the art of photography and has received several honors for his work, including the New York Institute of Technology’s Art and Technology medal. His photography is collected in the book "Eye to Eye: Photographs by Graham Nash," and he has curated others’ work in the book "Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash."
As a longtime activist, Nash often weaves political and environmental themes into his music, including on his new album. His song "Mississippi Burning" is about the three college students who were murdered in Mississippi in 1964 for their political stand against racism, and the song "Watch Out for the Wind" is about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.
Nash said it is important to him that he not only leaves his audience satisfied with the music, but that they receive a good message from his performance and stories.
"I want them to leave with a smile," he said. "I want them to fall in love with their partners. I want them to leave angry with what the government is doing. I want to give my best, and that’s what happens when you have 50 years of music to choose from."