Graham Nash NOW

Graham Nash

A Gleaming, Fresh Bundle of Engaging Folk-Rock Songs from a 60 Year Veteran

This is the year my mum turns 80: whilst any significant birthday can be a time of reflection, nostalgic serendipity is fuelling me towards this first new release in seven years from a music veteran; nay LEGEND.
The common thread?
We all grew up in Salford, my mum as a youngster marched alongside Mr Nash in the same Whit Walk Parades, my Nan served their school dinners.
So, it feels quite remarkable some 70 years later that I am delving into a bunch of shiny, brand-new songs that represent this same landmark junction for him as it does my Mum, and I’m curious to find out how this artist is taking stock of his own life, far away in time and space from those cobbled streets.

After just one listen, it was clear this album should be a winner with his fans: the songs giving a respectful musical nod to what has gone before, whilst lyrically providing a fresh, honest perspective and insight into his past and present mindset. Don’t get too comfy though as sprinkled in are some heavier weighted surprises: Graham Nash is showing no signs of putting his feet up anytime soon.

So how does this artist weave a trail of six musical decades within a new album?
Buddy’s Back encapsulates the early days of The Hollies, a buoyantly pure Rock n Roll pleaser: he’s not the first musician of course to pay tribute to this fifties legend but accompanying on backing vocals is his fellow founder member bandmate Allan Clarke, giving this track extra gravitas.
It’s sure to sit well in a live set.

Moving forward a decade sees him plucking an instrumental piece from a soundtrack by Alan Price to the 1973 film ‘O Lucky Man!’ all these years later, adding lyrics to create In A Dream.
Bordering on musical theatre territory, this is not my usual bag, but this soft, reflective orchestral ballad has a message that love can make everything alright and who am I to argue with that?
Sad strings are once more used for dramatic effect on I Watched It All Come Down where he gives a personal take on the rise and pitfalls of the Crosby, Stills and Nash years:

I watched it all come down
To reflector shades and telegrams at dawn
Changing highways on and on
I’m gone, been there too long
And although I’ve watched it fall
I want you to know, I’ve seen it grow, let go

The backbone of the album for many will be the heartfelt vintage folk pop tracks: A Better Life poignantly recognising the passing of time and contains a direct message for us all to try and leave behind an improved World for the next generations.
It Feels Like Home, complete with an emotive, old-school harmonica intro, is wrapped up with the right amount of country twang to make even the most adventurous folk homesick: it’s a feel-good love story that catches me off guard, evoking memories of my own early Salford years, making it an unexpected favourite.

The recurring theme of love provides affirmation that a point of personal contentment has been reached, whilst acknowledging there is always more to learn when it comes to matters of the heart.
The soft picking Ballad Love Of Mine conveys a touching regretful apology to his partner, with vocals upfront and confessional, whilst the piano led When it Comes to You is tenderly open about the sweet emotional place he is in:

You’re teaching me all that I thought I knew
Free from doubt, free from fear
I know what I need to do
When it comes to you’

Homelife aside, there are political frustrations voiced with the bluesy Golden Idol and Stars And Stripes which both convey Graham Nash’s thoughts on the MAGA era as he sings
I won’t fall for this illusion,
Just tell me the truth’.

In fact, the two songs jostling for the top slot both serve as a reminder this album is as contemporary as it is nostalgic.
Right Now is the upfront, rocky opener of the album, setting the gauntlet down with a punchy guitar rift designed to uplift and energize as the artist assesses his next steps, he’s still evolving:

Trying my best to be the man I know I am,
I’ll try to take it easy, moving right ahead’

By a tiny margin the boisterous ‘call to verbal arms’ track Stand Up wins the day.
Urging us to speak out against injustices, this one caught me by surprise and spirited me to a virtual ‘90s indie mosh pit!
In my book, a dead cert crowd pleaser for his upcoming ’60 years of songs and Stories’ tour, demonstrating just how worthy this album is to be the latest addition to Graham Nash’s musical timeline.
Glad to have checked back in after all these years, just as I’m planning my mum’s first visit back to Salford post Pandemic.
We’ve all come a long way and this album inspires us not to slow our journey down just yet.

Review by Anita Joyce

Released May 19th 2023


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