“There are 900 songs between all of us, but it ain’t how many, it’s how good,” suggested Graham Nash during his second of two sold out City Winery shows, referring to himself and lifelong collaborators David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. Throughout two hours at the up close and personal supper club, the singer/songwriter and fellow acoustic guitar player Shane Fontayne only had time for about 20 of those tunes, but each and every one showcased his seasoned writing skills.
Prior to “Chicago,” Nash mentioned he never visits the Windy City without singing it, but made a point to say it has less to do with geography and more with the fact he still believes in the right to protest and “re-arrange the world.”
Whether addressing tunes from the new solo collection “This Path Tonight,” various CSNY incarnations and even a hint of The Hollies, Nash presented ordinary subjects with enviable articulateness, alongside an ongoing commitment to addressing political and environmental issues. For a guy who’s 74-years-old, he could easily have phoned in a jukebox revue, and while he definitely dabbled in everything from The Hollies’ “Bus Stop” to Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Our House,” just as much time was spent on surprises and sharing morsels of wisdom that’s come from such vast experience.
In between those bookends, Nash deliberately shuffled up the set list (particularly for repeat attendees), uncovering the older “Wild Tales” (the shared name of his recent autobiography) and performing the fresher “Mississippi Burning” (in reflection of the original Civil Rights movement) for the very first time. He also added harmonica into the mix of acoustic guitars around “Myself At Last” and took a seat behind the keyboard on a few occasions, perhaps most memorably throughout the trio’s timeless “Cathedral.”
Prior to “Chicago,” Nash mentioned he never visits the Windy City without singing it, but made a point to say it has less to do with geography and more with the fact he still believes in the right to protest and “re-arrange the world.” With that in mind, the double Rock and Roll Hall of Famer closed with “Teach Your Children,” a call to live by example for future generations, which more than 40 years after it was first written, is just as vital of a message as anything from one of the world’s most prolific songbooks.
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For additional information on Graham Nash, visit GrahamNash.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at City Winery include Cracker (May 14); Kurt Elling (May 15-16); Nellie McKay (May 17); Mashina (May 19); Amel Larrieux (May 20); Moby –“Porcelain: A Memoir” (May 24); JD Souther (May 25); Billy Joe Shaver (May 26); Cathy Richardson Band (May 27); Sergio Mendes & Brasil (May 30); Ben Sollee (Jun. 2); Robby Krieger (Jun. 3) and Kris Allen (Jun. 4). For additional details, visit CityWinery.com/Chicago.