For the love of music

Jun 2019 For the love of music

By Martin Hutchinson

IN 1968, GRAHAM NASH shocked the music world, as well as his family and friends by upping sticks and moving to America.

He left the band he had co-founded with school-friend Allan Clarke in 1962 – The Hollies.

With The Hollies, Graham had been an integral part of one of the best pop bands in music history, with hits like Stay, Carrie Anne, Jennifer Eccles and the chart-topping I’m Alive.

In the band’s three-part harmony, his was the high voice, which melded perfectly with Allan and guitarist Tony Hicks.
While on tour in America, Graham had befriended David Crosby and Stephen Stills, and with them, he founded the eponymous Crosby Stills and Nash.

He had been experimenting musically with different sounds – especially on The Hollies album ‘Butterfly’, and found that he preferred to be a little more experimental in tonal textures.

He wrote Marrakesh Express and The Hollies attempted to record it but it was eventually shelved and Graham re-recorded it with Crosby and Stills.
“The difference was in the energy,” he told me from his US home. “And I wanted the over-dubbed guitars to give a fuller sound.”

The result was one of CSN’s biggest hits – with songs like Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Teach Your Children and Our House.

“The thing about Crosby, Stills and Nash was the sound we
created between us with our three voices. I remember one night in Joni Mitchell’s living room, we started singing together and we wanted that sound. It was completely different and I loved it.”

Graham was then able to stretch his writing talents.

“In England I learned to write melodies that were unforgettable, but when I moved to America, I realised I had to write better.”

He admits it was difficult to leave everything behind, but he is friends with Allan Clarke again.

“Yes, I rekindled my friendship with Allan and I speak to him about once a month.”

Recently, Graham was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 UK Americana Awards.

“It was a really nice night,” the Blackpool-born musician said.“But you don’t get into music to win awards – it’s for the love of music.”

Graham, who’s autobiography is in the New York Times Bestseller list, heads back to these shores for a series of British dates in July and August, and he’s really looking forward to it.

“Absolutely. I wouldn’t come over if I didn’t enjoy it, there’d be no point.”
He likes visiting familiar places.

“Yes, I like to go to the places I knew as a child; places like my local church and Salford Lad’s Club. That was on The Smiths’ album cover and I showed it to my wife Amy recently.”

For the tour, we can expect to hear some very interesting stories.

“I’ll be covering the whole of my career and I’ll be talking about the songs too. People are very interested in how songs are created, especially if they are songs that they know.”

Graham is also working on a new book – a second book of photographs.
“Yes, I always carry a camera with me,” he confided.

Crosby, Stills & Nash released their self-titled debut album. Considered one of the first supergroups, the band featured some of the superlative voices of The Byrds (David Crosby), The Hollies (Graham Nash) and Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills). The album included two Top 40 hit singles, Marrakesh Express and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, with other CSN compositions.

GUITARS from Graham Nash’s collection are part of Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment Memorabilia sale on July 20.

The Dallas auction include 19 guitars hand-picked by Nash, including instruments previously played by Johnny Cash, Duane Allman, Bo Diddley and Stephen Stills.

“I chose these guitars from my collection as they were played by the founders of rock and roll,” said Nash.

“There’s an incredible part of music history right here, and for me to have held them and got the juice out of them that I wanted, I then wanted to share them with people.”

Among guitars he has played are a Gibson Firebird once owned by former bandmate Stephen Stills, a 1950 Fender Broadcaster in butterscotch blonde, a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom in black; and the 1969 Martin D-45 Acoustic Guitar he played at the Woodstock festival in 1969.

Graham said he purchased the Martin using advance money from Atlantic Records for Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s first recording contract.

“I felt so great when I could afford to buy this,” he said.

Graham Nash is touring the UK from July 18 to August 3.
11 Teatro delle Rocce Gavorrano, Italy
12 Auditorium Horszowski
Monforte, Italy
13 Festival Musilac Aix-les-Bains, France
16 Southport Theatre Southport
17 Victoria Theatre Halifax
18 The Forum Bath
20 Wales Millennium Centre
21 New Theatre Oxford ,
22 Leas Cliff Hall Folkestone
24 Gent Opera House Ghent
25 Zuiderpark Theatre Den Haag, Holland
26 Stevenskerk Nijmegen,
28 Burg Herzberg Festival
Breitenbach am Herzberg, Germany
29 Lichtburg Essen, Germany
30 Serenadenhof Nuremberg Germany
1 Wickham Festival Wickham ,
2 Cambridge Folk Festival
3 Alexandra Palace Theatre
20 Mayo Performing Arts Center
Morristown, NJ
21 Garde Arts Center
New London, CT
22 Bardavon Poughkeepsie , NY
24 The Ridgefield Playhouse
Ridgefield, CT
25 South Orange Performing Arts Center NJ
27 Town Hall Theatre New York
28 The Egg Albany, NY
29 Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
1 The Criterion Theatre Bar
Harbor , ME
2 Waterville Opera House
Waterville , ME
4 The Academy of Music
Northampton , MA
5 Lebanon Opera House
Lebanon , NH
6 Musikfest Cafe
Bethlehem , PA
8 Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Toronto , ON
12 Landmark on Main Street
Port Washington , NY
18 Warner Theatre Erie, PA