Graham Nash is several lives concentrated in a career spanning more than 60 years. It's a huge success with The Hollies first, then Crosby, Stills & Nash, then solo. It's two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it's music that has defined an entire generation. And yet, Graham Nash remains this discreet legend, who has often been in the shadow of his compatriots, but who moves forward on his path of folk, rock and commitment with the delicate talent that we know him for.
Although he gained immense recognition in Britain with The Hollies, it was in the United States that Nash fell in love. Adopted by California, he quickly became a fighter, taking his peaceful rebellion to Woodstock before writing deeply committed solo material. Military Madness, Prison Song or Soldiers of Peace are folk anthems for peace, always carried by terribly catchy melodies, sometimes tinged with a soft melancholy.
Because behind his protesting looks, Nash is a composer and a performer with an overflowing sensibility, with an innate talent to record masterful songs, between rock, pop and folk. On the guitar or behind the piano, and with his distinctive voice, he sings about sensitive rebellion and raw emotions with a delicacy, a gentleness and a simplicity that inevitably touches souls and hearts.
And today, when you see him on stage, it's hard to imagine the decadent youth of the man who admits to having tried every drug in the world. All that remains is his protesting, skin-deep sounds, his bright rock under his greying hair and his ever-present desire to make his audience think with poetic compositions, refined harmonies and timeless lyrics. Each time he appears, it's as if we were sitting down with him around a campfire to remake the world in a more beautiful and fairer way, and above all, with music.
He had won everything with The Hollies and inspired a whole generation of hippies, leaving his mark on Woodstock with Crosby, Stills & Nash. But this time, he goes solo on Songs for Beginners, a special place for the protest songs that have already become his trademark, but also to sing about his sadness at having separated from his partner, Joni Mitchell. In just over 30 minutes, and with catchy tracks such as Military Madness, Chicago and We Can Change the World, he sets the record straight and once again brings his deeply pacifist message to the world.
In the 1970s, Nash continued to make his passionate voice heard, fighting for social justice, peace and the environment. In 1979, he organised a series of charity concerts against weapons and atomic energy, which became a reference of its kind. Although he continued his musical career, notably with Crosby, solo releases became rarer. The last album to date, Earth & Sky in 1980, is still a combination of activism and personal feelings, carried by intense writing.
In 1997, he had already entered the rock legend, where he had long belonged, as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. In 2010, he did it again, this time with The Hollies. His talents as a songwriter are put to the fore and when you look at his poignant lyrics, where emotion and passion go hand in hand, you can only wonder why this induction comes so late. But it doesn't matter to the artist who continues on his way without looking back. In 2016 and after 14 years without a solo album, he finally went into the studio to record This Path Tonight, "an emotional journey of self-discovery, intense creation and absolute passion".
The albums come in dribs and drabs but are always exceptional. NOW is as much a political rallying cry, a searing critique as it is a song of hope, with a rock and folk tone that only Graham Nash still knows. "All the things we stood for, that love is better than hate, that peace is better than war [...] these things are still true today", explains the singer, who once again cries out with a gentle rage, a mad optimism, to bring the world "something positive".
It's fascinating how Graham Nash's voice hasn't changed since his first compositions. We still find the same energy, the same desire in this artist who does not hesitate to intersperse his songs with little discussions with his audience. A music that enchants as much as it touches us and makes us think about the state of the world. A great moment that I would like to relive again and again, thank you!
Graham Nash is an artist who changed the course of the world, who carried the voice of a whole generation that demanded more peace and love. And if his hair has turned white, he has never lost his protesting verve, nor his talent for writing and melodies as simple as they are subtle. He is certainly an immense composer and singer, who still takes palpable pleasure in debating the state of the world, guitar brandished as a banner.
The public has been waiting seven years for a new Graham Nash studio album. A founding member of the pop group The Hollies, where he writes with his childhood friend Allan Clarke, and of the unmissable Crosby, Stills & Nash, he will be back solo on 19 May with a seventh effort entitled "Now". Produced by the musician himself in collaboration with Todd Caldwell, his long-time keyboardist, "it's the most personal record (he's) ever made," he said via an official statement. "At this point in my career, it's something to say," he added.