One thing I really enjoy about this job of mine is reconnecting with artists over the span of their musical career. Such is the case with Graham Nash who has been thrilling me and millions of other fans from his first band, The Hollies, right through Crosby, Stills & Nash; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Crosby and Nash; and, of course, his prolific solo career. He’s also a photographer, author, painter, activist and so much more, but it was his music — and his newest solo CD “This Path Tonight”— that was the subject of a chat we had when he called me from the road on June 16. We talked about a performance he’s having at Savage Oakes Vineyard & Winery in Union.

Nash: Hello, Lucky, this is Graham Nash.

Q: Thank you so much for calling this afternoon, I really appreciate it.

Nash: We have talked before, haven’t we.

Q: Yes, sir, we have.

Nash: Four or five times, I believe.

Q: You are correct, sir, and you are coming to Maine once more, I understand.

Nash: Indeed.

Q: I take it that this show at Savage Oakes will be in support of your latest album?

Nash: Yes, it is. Shane Fontayne — my guitar player and musical partner — and I wrote 20 songs in a month, and we went into the studio in early 2015 and recorded those 20 songs in eight days.

Q: Good grief.

Nash: Just to give you a little context, the first album that The Hollies ever made was done in 45 minutes.

Q: What?!

Nash: Actually, not quite. It was an hour-and-a-half, we did our 45-minute set twice and that became the album. On the other hand, me and David (Crosby) and Stephen (Stills) with “Daylight Again” it was made through two Super Bowls, so eight days is pretty fast.

Q: Wow! Any chance of hearing the other 10 songs that weren’t used on “This Path Tonight”?

Nash: Yeah. When I get back on the road at the beginning of July, I’ll be writing after the shows with Shane on the bus. We’ll be using the seven tracks that we still have left — there were 10 of the 20 on the album, 13 on the album if you get the deluxe one. So, we have seven left and we’re still writing, so at the end of the year we’ll go back into the studio and do a new record.

Q: Well, having listened to an MP3 download of that album, I found the intimacy present on there to be very compelling.

Nash: You know “Myself At Last,” the second track on the record? That was the very first attempt at the very first song we tried — one take.

Q: Amazing! You know, I was just about to ask if songwriting is still easy for you but obviously it still is.

Nash: Yeah, it is and it’s how I’ve been expressing myself for over 50 years, you know? It doesn’t get easier, it gets more efficient, I think. I have to really care about something before I even attempt to write about it — I have to feel deeply about it. Sometimes songs come in an hour or so and sometimes they take a couple of years to write, particularly with a song like “Cathedral”—it took me a long time to make sure that every single word was right to me because when you’re talking about people’s religion you have to be very careful.

Q: Because it is such a volatile issue especially nowadays.

Nash: Yes, it is.

Q: So, what can folks expect from this show coming up on the 20th of July? I take it that this will be “An Evening With …” kind of format?

Nash: This is what they can expect. First of all they can expect somebody that wants to be there, and secondly they can expect to hear a vast array of music from me — songs that I’ve never gotten a chance to play because when you’re in a band with David and Stephen and Neil (Young), how many songs can you have because everybody else has got songs, too, but when I’m on my own I get a chance to play songs I’ve never played. They can also expect to hear their favorites because I’m doing them with new passion now. Things like “Chicago” and “Military Madness” and “Immigration Man,” they’re so relevant today. And in a way it’s a thrill that my music has lasted this long, but it’s a pain in the ass that I still have to sing “Military Madness,” for (expletive)’s sake!

Q: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Nash: And finally what they can expect is to go home having been given value for money — and smiling: that’s my job.

Q: And you’ve done it so well over the years.

Nash: That’s because I enjoy what I’m doing. I enjoy talking to people, I enjoy letting people know what I was thinking when I wrote “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” and “Wind of the Water.” So talking about those things, I think, really brings the evening a nice intimacy and a one-on-one relationship where I can see their eyes and I know that I’m communicating.

Q: I’d ask how much longer you plan on doing this, but …

Nash: I’ll be writing when they’re closing the (expletive) lid — I’ll be writing about how heavy that (expletive) lid is!

Q: (Laughter) I know that you have other folks to call so I’ll end with my traditional closing question: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Nash: Yes, I think that they should take music for what it is: magic — this will be a magic, healing evening.

Q: Sir, as always you’ve given me a great chat and I do appreciate the fact that you’re still willing to talk with me after all these years.

Nash: You’re very welcome Lucky — we’ll talk next time.

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.