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  • Crosby, Stills and Nash In Concert
    Show Date: August 14, 2012
    Venue: Verizon Theater, Grand Prairie, Texas

    There are few acts that can take several generations at once and induce a group flashback to their favorite times past like Crosby, Stills and Nash.
    And what a flashback it was.

    From the opening of the show with Carry On/Questions to the final encore tune, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, the entire almost three hour show was chock full (twenty-five songs) of musical memories. The multi-generational, sell-out crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy – and sometimes sing along – with every song on the set list.

    Along with the musical treasure chest of memories, the show had subtle and not so subtle riches and treats. For one, witnessing the contribution of David’s son, James, to both the musician and songwriting of the group was heartwarming on many levels. One only needs to search the internet for the story of David and James’ relationship and how it got to where it is today. It’s worth the effort of searching.

    Second, the show fell on David’s 71st birthday. While the birthday was mentioned early in the first half of the show, “Happy Birthday” wasn’t sung until the group returned to the stage and was led in the song by Graham Nash. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have that song sung to you by 6,300 of your closest and dearest friends.

    Other highlights of the show was great guitar work by Stephen Stills – especially blistering solos on Déjà Vu, and Blue Bird. There were newer and very moving songs like, Radio, written by James Crosby and the protest song, Almost Gone (The Ballad of Bradley Manning), in support of the soldier facing trial for the Wikileaks scandal.
    The audience, at times, spontaneously sang along with the iconic trio on songs like Our House, Teach Your Children and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. What a tremendous honor – and how flattering – it must be to have thousands of people not only know and love your music but feel compelled from deep within to sing right along with you. But such is the impact that these men have had on several generations.
    It’s Boomerocity’s hope that they continue to impact us for generations to come.

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    Posted March 2019

    GrahamNash2cropped creditAmyGrantham cropPhoto by Amy GranthamI have often heard it said that the baby boomer generation had the greatest music. I happen to agree wholeheartedly. One of the reasons I feel that way is because of the iconic work by the legendary Graham Nash. Whether it was his work during his time with The Hollies or the prolific period with Crosby, Still, Nash (and, sometimes, Young) or in his various solo pursuits.

    Because Nash was, once again, going to be performing in East Tennessee (this time at Chattanooga’s Walker Theater), I was granted the opportunity to chat with the musical icon about his latest album, Over the Years, and the supporting tour.

    After some small talk about his recent vacation that he just returned from, I mentioned that he was going to be playing in Chattanooga (easy driving distance from me) and that I met with him during his show in Knoxville (even closer to me). He interjected with this neat bit of news:

    “You know, in Knoxville, I was approached by the City Council just very quickly. The idea was that the Everly Brothers spent the first eight years of their life in Knoxville. They were on their parents’ radio show in Knoxville. So, the Knoxville City Council approached me and said that they’re going to make a small park in honor of the Everly Brothers. Part of their design is, on the walk through the park, there are marble stones on the floor that are carved with quotes from quite famous people about the Everly Brothers. They wanted to know if I could help find people that would give a small quote and get permission to put their signature carved into the marble. So far, I have me, of course. I have Keith Richards. I have McCartney. I have Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Brian Wilson. Incredible stuff, you know? I just thought I’d tell you that because you familiar with Knoxville. How could I not be involved when it’s the Everly Brothers? They’re part of the reason we are talking right now! Ha! Ha!”

    Shifting our chat to his new CD, I asked Graham to tell me about it.GrahamThinkingBW2

    “I realized a year ago that there’d never been a ‘Greatest Hits’ of my music. Yes, greatest hits of CSN. Greatest hits of CSNY. Greatest hits of the Hollies, etc. But not of me, personally. So, I went on the internet and found out what my friends’ fifteen most favorite songs of mine are and I put them on. And, then, I thought, ‘You know, people have probably bought all this music – maybe even several times. How could I make it more interesting and more desirable?’

    “So, I decided that I would go into my archives and find the demos of those songs and put them on. That’s what it became. The artwork was done by my wife, Amy Grantham.”

    When I asked if the album cover was shot in Switzerland (which I thought it looked like it had), he said, “It’s actually a National Geographic image from many years ago and Amy put the boy in there.”

    Over the Years is a two-disc collection that includes original demos of some of Nash’s biggest hits. I asked him which song he would point to as a calling card for the collection.

    GrahamNashColorBackstage“It would be ‘Marrakesh Express’ because that was the demo that I sent The Hollies and they made a very half-hearted attempt to record it. To me, in my mind and being the writer of that song, I needed the energy of a moving train through it, which Stephen (Stills) brilliantly did on the CSN version of Marrakesh. I think if people hear the original demo, they’ll realize a couple of things. One: that the arrangement of the song didn’t change that much from my demos. I notice that the arrangement of each was already complete in my mind when I made the demo.

    “And ‘Teach Your Children, of course, is another one. I started that song in the north of England, and I finished it in Los Angeles in early ’69. But you can hear that the arrangement – apart from the fact that there’s a solo in there that was done, of course, by Jerry Garcia – the arrangement is pretty much the same as my demo.”

    Clearly, those songs and the songs of Nash’s peers in the same periods of time, they still stand on their own. In fact, a recent study showed that millennials more readily recognize that era of music more quickly and readily than their own era of music. I mentioned that to Graham, and he interjected.

    “You know why? First of all, the melody. It’s the melody of all those songs. Today’s music – there’s a great deal of great music, of course. Particularly, ‘This Is America’. There are some great Hip-Hop songs; great songs out there. But I love an identifiable melody and identifiable lyrics. I think that might be one of the reasons why that they’re preferring our genre to theirs.”

    A few days prior to our chat, the Super Bowl had just been played and there was tremendous buzz about the pros and cons of the half-time show by Maroon 5 and that classic rockers should be chosen for those shows because they’re historically much more well received. To that point, I asked Graham if he, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young were offered the gig to play halftime, would they do so?

    “I cannot speak for David and Stephen and Neil, but I can speak for myself and I would not do the half-time show at the Graham pondSuper Bowl because of Colin Kaepernick, you know? This man has been trying to bring awareness of the fact that black kids are being killed almost daily by the police. His protest against that by taking a knee was incredibly symbolic. Regardless of what Maroon 5 did, musically, on the half-time show, they could’ve put people on their side instead of all the incredible negative posts I’ve seen about their performance. If they would’ve taken a knee. How hard would that have been?”

    I asked Graham what form that the “knee-taking” have taken, his opinion.

    “Adam Levine could’ve – at the beginning of one song – on his knee. Even if it was for only ten seconds of a song, it would’ve been incredibly symbolic for him to have done that and they chose not to. I think it was to their detriment.”

    I then asked Nash if they (CSN) would not have done the same thing (take a knee during part of a song).

    “I have a feeling that if we – the four of us - did do it, it would be an incredible ten minutes of protest. Ha! Ha! I just can’t imagine singing Ohio with the boys – well, I tell you, I could imagine it, but that’s the kind of stuff that we would do. We would turn that – because of Kaepernick – we would turn our performance into a protest, I believe.”

    And what causes are on Graham’s front-burner about these days?

    “We get asked to do a lot of benefits and you have to prioritize your time. You have to figure out the two or three things most important to you because you can get scattered by supporting many, many causes. It kind of dilutes everything because you can’t put a great deal of time into every single cause.

    Nash3“And, so, certainly climate change. Certainly, the future of our children in terms of education, and the nuclear problem, still. I read yesterday that Russia supposedly has the ability to explode a nuclear bomb underwater, creating a tsunami that would wipe out Miami and parts of New York, all of Bangladesh. It’s insane. The world is run by these major corporations and several of them are military manufacturers. They’re just playing a game. They don’t give a f*** about people’s lives. They only are interested in making more profit for their company. And, unfortunately, war is an incredible way for these military people to make money. That’s a crime, as far as I’m concerned.”

    When I opined that the difference between Russia and the United States is that we know how to pronounce the names of our mobsters, Graham chimed in and said, “Yes! Trump, Trump, Trump, and Trump!”

    What’s on your radar for the rest of the year and next year?

    “More creation. More music. More art. More trying to make the world a better place for myself and for my immediate loved ones. Just more creation. I can only do what I do best. When I find something that is worth writing songs about and talking about, then I will do that.”

    And when will we see another Graham Nash album?

    “When we did my album, This Path Tonight, we recorded twenty songs and we only used ten of them – thirteen if you bought the deluxe thing from iTunes. So, I have songs left over from those sessions. I have new songs that I’ve been writing and, together, I’ll start preparing the next album while I’m on the road.”

    Graham Nash is touring this year so I asked him what can fans expect from him during his shows.NashSteps1

    “They can expect me to want to be there. I want them to know that I want to be there making music for them and I also want to see them smile on their way out so that I know that I’ve done my job.”

    You can order tickets to put that kind of smile on your face – courtesy of Graham Nash – by visiting GrahamNash.com to order your tickets as well as keep up on the latest with Graham and order his music.

  • rocksoldierhc finalRock ‘N’ Roll Soldier
    By Dean Ellis Kohler with Susan Vanheck Forward by Graham Nash
    Published by HarperTeen
    Reviewed: March, 2010

    When one hears the phrase, “Vietnam War”, a wide variety of images, phrases and emotions are conjured up. I was too young to fight in that war but not too young to remember the impact the war had on friends as well as society.

    ‘Nam impacted our politics, news and entertainment. It became the subject of protests, songs and movies. The pros, cons and impact of that lengthy war is still being felt and discussed today.

    Rock ‘N’ Roll Soldier is an engaging tale of a young man, Dean Kohler, who made the quantum leap from Portsmouth, Virginia, to Qui Nohn, Vietnam. His long sought after, and worked for, dream materialized literally on the same day that he received his draft notice, dashing that particular dream.

    Kohler and Vanhecke weave a captivating story of how circumstances in boot camp led Kohler to an opportunity to purse a different version of his dream in a nightmarish environment. After a cathartic encounter with PFC Goodridge, with some fellow soldiers, Dean formed a band called The Electrical Banana. This band provided a welcome, uplifting distraction for both the band and its uniformed audience, bringing to them live covers of their favorite songs of the day.

    The book isn’t all about music. It also details young men who bury their natural fears with incredible amounts of bravery. Some icons from the 60’s are mentioned in the book (Nancy Sinatra and Graham Nash, to name two) as are tales of friendships, chain of command, homesickness and girls left behind in two countries. Also told is the process of Kohler’s adjustment to civilian life and fitting back into society. The story provides insight into how our minds can be so conditioned to routine that, when that routine is altered, time is needed to adjust back into the new norm.

    The book’s forward by Graham Nash is worth the price of the book by itself. Nash closes his remarks by saying, “Through the transcendent power of music, Dean created his own bit of order out of the chaos of the Vietnam War . . . to survive another day.”

    The books final words honors Kohler’s Electrical Banana band mates. In them he poignantly states, “ . . . with their help, during a time when none of us knew for sure if we would live or die, I came to know the true power of music – to communicate, heal, connect. Unite.”

    I couldn’t say any better, gentlemen.

    Mr. Kohler and the thousands of men and women who served your country in an unpopular war: We can never repay you enough for your sacrifice nor will we ever forget. Thank you so much!

    PFC Goodridge, thank you and may you continue to rest in peace.

  • wildtalescoverWild Tales
    Author: Graham Nash
    Publisher: Crown Archetype
    Release Date: September 17, 2013
    Review Date: February 9, 2014


    One can’t reflect on the soundtrack of the sixties and seventies without touching on a few of the over two hundred songs Graham Nash has written. I mean, think about it: The guy wrote huge hits like Marrakesh Express, Teach Your Children and Our House. Those songs (and many, many others) are still enjoying heavy air play on radio and featured in movies and TV. Now, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer tells his story in Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life.

    I’ve read a lot of rock biographies and memoirs over the years. Some of them are even reviewed here on Boomerocity. Whether by Keith, Clapton or Ronnie, one thing that I’ve noticed is that the ones written from across the pond have their own unique tone, rhythm and flavor that makes them particularly engaging.

    I can now add Wild Tales to that list of very well written autobiographies. One gets the feeling while reading the book that you’re sitting with Nash as he regales you with the stories of his fabled life. The book starts at an interesting part of his life: His visit to the U.S. to meet up with his then lover: Joni Mitchell. Who he met there that night opened the door for the next huge stage of his life and career.

    The book is a treasure chest of rock and roll history. Obviously, you’ll get the inside scoop of all things Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. That’s a given. You’ll also get the scoop about how the Hollies formed as well as his interactions with a virtual who’s who of rock and roll royalty. People like the Beatles and the Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Cass Elliot and others. Then, of course, there’s insight into Woodstock – both the concert and the movie/soundtrack.

    One of my favorite stories in the book is where Nash shares how he and Allan “Clarkie” Clark saw Bill Haley and the Comets in 1957. Think about it: One future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (a double inductee, at that) watching another future Hall of Famer perform and writing about it fifty-six years later. There is something almost mystical and prophetic about that scene. You’ll just have to read the book to see what I mean.

    For business geeks like me, Wild Tales is full of glimpses into the inner workings of some historic deals. Names like Geffen, Ertegun and others are peppered throughout the book and you’ll learn how some of the deals were done. The ultimate in business porn, in my book!

    Whether you’re a casual music fan, a hard-core CSNY fan or a learned musicologist, Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life is a must-have for your personal library.

    Keep up on the latest on Graham Nash by checking out his website: www.grahamnash.com