Album co-producer Russ Kunkel will serve as both the tours musical director and drummer extraordinaire. The band is rounded out by studio ace Dean Parks on guitar, Larry Klein - best known for his work with Joni Mitchell-on bass, and Jeff Pevar and James Raymond on guitars and keyboards, respectively.
Songs For Survivors, Nash's first solo album in over a decade, can be heard both in stereo mix from Artemis Records, whose CD version hit retail this week, and in surround-sound, 5.1 DVD audio from DTS Entertainment. Produced by Graham Nash in conjunction with Russ Kunkel and Nathaniel Kunkel, Songs For Survivors powerfully showcases both Nash's legendary vocal talents and renowned songwriting artistry. The first single, "Lost Another One," is airing on radio nationwide.
Graham Nash has called the making of Songs For Survivors "one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. "The album's ten tracks are an important addition to Nash's extensive repertoire, which includes such landmark classics as "Pay You Back With Interest," "On A Carousel," "Marrakesh Express," "Lady Of The Island," "Our House," "Teach Your Children," and "Just A Song Before I Go," to name just a few. In addition to inaugurating Songs For Survivors' material onstage, Nash and his band will also showcase his incredible songbook nightly in concert on his upcoming tour
Graham Nash is nothing short of a Renaissance Man for the modern age. Without question, he is one of the most enduring and seminal figures in popular music, with a groundbreaking career that first brought him international fame as co-founder of chart-topping British Invasion pioneers The Hollies. Nash went on to become, respectively, 1/3 and 1/4 of two of the most influential and long-lasting groups in rock 'n' roll history - Crosby, Stills and Nash (with whom he was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1997), and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Both legendary configurations continue to record and tour together today… Rolling Stone Magazine called a 1999 CSN show, with its trademark harmonies, "One of the concerts of the decade," and recent CSNY shows have been must-see events.
2002 marks the release of his first solo album project in over a decade, Songs For Survivors, in both 5.1 (on DTS Entertainment) and stereo (on Artemis Records) mixes. To make the record, Graham enlisted the help of longtime pal and musical cohort Russell Kunkel, and Russ' son Nathaniel, as co-producers. Recorded and mixed in California and Hawaii from late 2000 into 2001. They are an expression of a mature artist in full command of his powers, and Graham affirms that, "It was incredibly enjoyable just being an artist instead of being one of the guys who puts it all together. All I wanted to do was sing my songs, and the recording experience was one of the most rewarding of my life." Graham's and Russ' association, both personal and professional, dates back to the days of the first Crosby and Nash album in 1972, making Songs For Survivors an endeavor richened by the fabric of many decades of friendship.
SONGS FOR SURVIVORS
In 1971, amidst the heady days of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's first wave of phenomenal success (Déjà Vu topped the charts in '70, and the live gem Four Way Street hit in '71), Graham Nash released his debut solo album, the critically acclaimed and hugely popular Songs For Beginners. With its beautifully crafted compositions and peerless vocals, not to mention a stellar cadre of guest performers, the LP established Nash individually as an artist to be reckoned with outside the parameters of his superstar group.
Three decades later, with CSNY still captivating audiences around the world, Graham Nash carries on his legacy as an accomplished solo artist with Songs For Survivors, his fourth solo project, and his first since 1986's Innocent Eyes.
In keeping with his always forward-thinking vision, Nash is one of the first major artists to introduce an album on DVD-Audio in advance of the stereo CD release date. Recorded fully digitally, the DTS DVD-5 version of Songs For Survivors - produced by Jeff Levinson and playable on both DVD Video and Audio hardware - features an expansive 5.1 mix. Online digital audio bible DVD Angle writes that, "It is obvious that the music was crafted with very energetic multi-channel playback in mind. Although highly active across both the front and rear soundstages, the mix never comes across as even slightly unnatural, and in fact serves as a prime example of depth and intimacy that 5.1 mixing can add to a recording." The DVD also includes a 66-image photo gallery of Nash's work, and extensive liner notes, bios and tech specs.
The tracks themselves, says Nash, are both "Songs that came about three days before we started, and songs that I'd been living with for twenty years." He easily explains what ties them all together - "With my music, I've always communicated very directly with people-- from my heart to your heart, everything from anger to true love."
Those emotions and many more come through exquisitely on the album's ten songs, all but one of which was written or co-written by Nash. The album's spectrum ranges, to name just a few of its colors, from the indignation and sorrow expressed over racial injustice in "Dirty Little Secret" (written with Russ Kunkel), to the moving testament to friendship conveyed by "Nothing In The World," to the beautifully realized love ballads "Where Love Lies Tonight" and "Come With Me," both inspired by Graham's wife Susan. As personal and heartfelt as so many of Graham's songs are, he resists explaining them too thoroughly, however. "I'm torn," he says, "between letting them stand for themselves, or letting people feel a little closer to them by knowing where I was when I wrote them. In the end, I suppose I prefer to leave it to everyone's imagination."
In making the album, Graham's own imagination was nurtured by the way the recording process was set up. Russ Kunkel, a famed rock 'n roll drummer and seasoned producer in his own right, has shared a longtime friendship and musical collaboration with Graham that dates back to the very first (self-titled) Crosby & Nash album in 1972, on which he played. The pair recently produced an all-star, two-night benefit concert event and live album as a tribute for Kunkel's late wife Nicolette Larson and benefiting pediatric facilities at the UCLA Medical Center.
Russ remembers that when Graham asked him to produce Songs For Survivors - along with his son Nathaniel, "I was incredibly honored. Nathaniel and I went about it as if it was our own record. We encouraged Graham to let us completely produce it, and take all the other responsibilities off his shoulders. We only wanted him to show up and play… and he gave us free rein." Nash happily affirms that, "It was incredibly enjoyable just being an artist instead of one of the guys who puts it all together… I just wanted to sing my songs, and the experience was one of the most rewarding of my life."
To track Graham's songs, Russ and Nathaniel enlisted a core of Nashville-based instrumentalists they'd worked with on various projects, including recordings for Lyle Lovett, Linda Rondstadt and James Taylor. Russ explains that "I went back and listened to Graham's other solo albums and realized there was a country flavor. I wanted to go for a feel somewhat similar to the earlier work - something different than CSN and CSNY - and felt these musicians would be a good match." Balancing out the brilliant, rootsy, acoustic sound of Matthew Rollings (piano), Viktor Krauss (bass), Dan Dougmore (steel guitar) and Russ Kunkel (drums) is the rock-influenced guitar work of veteran players Steve Farris and Dean Parks. The result, Nash believes, is "The best piece of work I've done in years."
Over the years, Graham Nash and his remarkable artistry have not only survived, but also thrived. Yet another new beginning for Nash, Songs For Survivors eloquently embraces both the incredible legacy of the man and his music as well as his hopes for the future…straight from his heart to yours, indeed.
Also upcoming is the publication of From Eye To Eye, a deluxe volume - printed by Los Angeles' revered Gardner Press - of more than 150 of Nash's black & white photographs. In putting the book together, Graham went through more than 20,000 images shot over the past four decades, and an upcoming show is planned to coincide with the book's release. Graham's most recent exhibition was the 2001 premiere of his dozen-image "New York Portfolio" at Brooklyn's highly regarded Howard Schickler Fine Art. Nash has also been collecting photography - including works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, and Diane Arbus - for over thirty years, and recently bequeathed large portions of his collection to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOCA, and The Getty Museum, which received 250 rare camera lucida drawings by Sir John Herschel.
Further passion for all things photographic led to the 1989 launch of Nash Editions, run by Graham's partner R. Mac Holbert, former tour manager for CSN. The now world-renowned digital fine-arts press specializes in producing high-resolution, limited edition photographic portfolios on museum-grade media using the very latest digital output technologies. In addition to generating Nash's own work, the press has created images for modern masters including David Hockney, Robert Heinecken, Francesco Clemente, and Jamie Wyeth. Most recently, Nash Editions' exquisite prints circled the globe via a major, 100-image traveling exhibition of legendary photographer Douglas Kirkland's 20th-century spanning work that premiered in Milan in April 2002. Another ongoing project for Nash is Manuscript Originals, an exclusive line of limited-edition prints of hand-written and illustrated original lyrics to classic popular songs. The collection includes pieces by Carole King, Kenny Loggins, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Grace Slick, David Crosby, and Nash himself.
Which full circles it all back to music, as is bound to happen with Nash, and 2002 brought yet another major milestone, a full-scale tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The dates follow up CSNY's historic, wildly successful 2000 tour, which at the time marked their first live shows together in over a quarter century, a reunion that came about as a result of the rekindled excitement the group felt while recording 1999's critically acclaimed CD Looking Forward. Upwards of half a million people witnessed their incendiary millennial performances when, night after night, the combined energy of the band's four formidable components transported the assembled crowd to an exhilarating musical high.
Nash is no stranger to making musical history. Originally hailing from the British seaside resort town of Blackpool, young Graham got caught up in the UK's skiffle craze of the 1950's, and he and Manchester boyhood friend Allan Clarke started playing the simple folk & country blues hybrid a la Lonnie Donegan that prefaced the coming rock 'n' roll explosion. Hugely influenced by the unique fusion of early rock, pop, country and peerless harmonies popularized in the U.S. by The Everly Brothers, Nash and Clarke formed The Hollies - after Buddy Holly - in the early '60s. The group began recording in 1963 after EMI producer Ron Richards caught their act at Liverpool's famed Cavern Club, where they followed in The Beatles' footsteps. Their chart success and international popularity during the booming British Invasion hey-day in fact rivaled that of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Amongst their harmony-heavy classic hits from the era-which remain favorites today - are tunes including "On A Carousel," "Carrie Anne," "King Midas In Reverse," "Bus Stop," and "Pay You Back With Interest." In 1966, Nash experienced the pleasure of The Hollies' album collaboration with their idols The Everly Brothers, Two Yanks In England, which also featured the guitar work of a young session musician named Jimmy Page - it's an experience Nash still considers a career highlight.
In 1968, Nash was excited by the myriad changes in music and pop culture that were taking place around the world, and eager for creative challenges beyond what he was finding with The Hollies. He welcomed an invitation to vocalize with new friends David Crosby and Stephen Stills, whom he had met the previous year while on tour in America. As the three were harmonizing in Joni Mitchell's living room on the track that would become "You Don't Have To Cry," Nash's future shifted course. He remembers that, "The minute I heard how our voices sounded together, I was physically and musically linked with David and Stephen from then on. It was a truly magical moment."
By the end of '68, Graham had officially split from The Hollies, and the very next year, his new trio released their remarkable self-titled debut album Crosby, Stills & Nash, which went straight to #1 and captured the hearts and minds of young people everywhere. Their sublime harmonies quickly proved timeless on hits including "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Helplessly Hoping," "Guineverre," "Wooden Ships," and Nash's compositions "Marrakesh Express" and "Lady of the Island." At only their second live performance together - joined by Neil Young - CSN played for almost half a million people at Woodstock in 1969, and immediately became one of the most important musical acts in the world. They remain, to this day, arguably, the most popular of the entire original Woodstock roster. Their next album, again with Young, the 1970 landmark Déjà Vu, is an all-time classic that generated three Top 40 singles - good friend Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," and Nash's smash double-play of "Teach Your Children" and "Our House." With each of its members bringing to the table a pedigree form their own hugely popular band-- Nash from The Hollies, of course, Crosby from The Byrds, and Stills and Young from Buffalo Springfield - CSNY was, and remains, a true supergroup for the ages. In the three-plus decades since then, Nash written more than 200 songs, continued to perform concerts and record unforgettable music with The Hollies, CSN and CSNY, undertaken many projects as a duo with David Crosby, reunited in a 1983 one-off with The Hollies and thrived as a solo artist. Most recently, the full CSNY foursome scored with their 1999 Warner-Reprise album Looking Forward, which superbly showcased each member's individual strengths as much as it captured the colossal synergy the group always generates when together. Past highlights from Nash's extensive discography, to name just a few include: 1971's Four Way Street (CSNY), which remains one of the all-time great live rock albums; also in '71, Nash's acclaimed solo album debut, Songs For Beginners; 1972's Graham Nash-David Crosby, featuring Nash's "Southbound Train" and the Top 40 track "Immigration Man;" 1977's CSN, which delivered the Nash gem "Just A Song Before I Go;" 1980's Earth & Sky; 1982's Daylight Again (CSN), with Nash's hit "Wasted On The Way;" 1988's American Dream (CSNY); and 1994's After The Storm (CSN).
Any overview of Graham Nash the artist - and the man - would not be complete without mention of his lifelong dedication to working on behalf of social and political causes. As a world citizen who came of age in the revolutionary 1960s - and one whose music, via CSN and CSNY, has often been called the era-defining voice of that turbulent generation - he became a relentless activist for positive change. Graham has since played more than 1,000 benefit concerts --including ones for Greenpeace, Live Aid, Unicef, No Nukes, Peace Sunday and Vietnam Veterans - with three areas he's particularly committed to being the anti-nuclear movement, environmental protection, and advocacy on behalf of children around the world. A father of three himself, it must be said, finally, that Graham is as much a dedicated family man and husband as he is anything. With equal parts impassioned idealism, intellectual curiosity, heartfelt love, and great good humor, Renaissance Man Graham Nash is as much in harmony with his world as he is with his music.
A lifelong photo enthusiast, he is ever-increasingly acclaimed for his own photography that he exhibits in galleries and museums around the world. His creative endeavors have also bridged the digital divide via Nash Editions, a museum-quality, cutting-edge digital fine arts press, and through numerous multi-media projects that are pioneering mixtures of art and technology, including LifeSighs, an autobiographical, interactive performance piece executed in real-time using high-speed fiber optic lines. In 1997, the New York Institute of Technology recognized his many achievements in the field with their prestigious Arts & Technology medal. Social, political and environmental activism are also now, as they have always been, a big part of his life on the planet. As the world enters a new millennium and Nash, born in 1942, begins his seventh decade on earth, he is as young at heart as ever… and busier than ever, as 2002 will prove