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PHILADELPHIA FOLK FESTIVAL: Graham Nash enjoying being a solo artist

A member of either The Hollies; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; or Crosby & Nash for most of his musical career, Graham Nash is finally getting some alone time.

“I’m loving it frankly. I don’t have to answer to David, Stephen or Neil. I can play what the (expletive) I want to play,” said Nash, who has been touring to support his 2016 solo album, “This Path Tonight.” It’s his sixth solo album, and his first since 2002.

Promising a chronicle of 60 years of Graham Nash music, he’ll take the Martin Guitar stage Aug. 19, along with the album’s producer, Shane Fontayne — “an incredible guitar player,” Nash says.

“My job as a musician is I have to let the people know I want to be there. The audience knows when you don’t want to be there, and you’re just going through the motions,” he said.

Two songs from “This Path Tonight” that listeners seem to particularly identify with, according to Nash, are “Myself at Last” and “Encore.” Of the latter, he said: “It’s an age-old question: who the (expletive) are you when all the lights are gone and all the people (in the crowd) are gone? Are you someone who wants to take from the universe or someone who wants to give back?” Nash hasn’t performed the album-closing ballad much, but was mulling over inserting it in his Folk Fest set.

Unafraid of expressing his political views — even cracking the hit parade in the 1970s with his solo single “Chicago” and Crosby & Nash’s “Immigration Man” — Nash cofounded Musicians United for Safe Energy in 1979 to rally against the expansion of nuclear power. He lamented that MUSE missed an opportunity to stage an event to support the anti-pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Reservation, but noted that he hasn’t had time to speak to cofounders Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne because he’s been in the process of moving from Hawaii to New York.

When asked for his thoughts on the current state of the protest song, which has deep roots in folk music, Nash — a British native (and Officer of the British Empire) who’s been a U.S. citizen for 40 years — expressed disgust with the Trump administration. He also said that unlike the ‘60s and ‘70s, the place to hear protest songs is online, rather than the radio. “You can count the people that own the world’s media on two hands,” he commented.

A photographer (He took his first pictures at 11 years old), photography collector and visual artist, Nash was also an early champion of digital photographic imaging. “I decided we’d better get on the train to digital information, or (else) get run over by it,” he said. He sold much of his extensive collection of prints in the early ‘90s to launch Nash Enterprises, a fine art, digital-based printing company. Nash Enterprises’ first printer, and one of its first published works — a 1969 portrait of David Crosby, are part of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.

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