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Top Winning Dogs Since 1954
An Evening with David Crosby and Graham Nash.
October 5th, 2008,
Sovereign Performing Arts Center Reading PA.

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Podcast of an interview: John DeBella of WMGK with Graham Nash


10/2/2008

An Evening With Crosby & Nash in downtown Reading

By Tracy Rasmussen
Reading Eagle Correspondent

Reading, PA - In September, singer/songwriter Graham Nash re-released "Songs for Beginners," a compilation of music that is just as politically poignant and hard-hitting as it was when it first dropped 35 years ago. It's a fact that both pleases and annoys Nash. "The songwriter in me loves it," he said. "It's part of the art of songwriting to take an incident and distill it down to its essence, hoping that it will be around for the long term. But quite frankly, it (ticks) me off that these songs are still completely relevant. It's pathetically disappointing." Nash will appear with frequent singing partner David Crosby at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center in downtown Reading on Sunday night and will be singing some of those songs as well as hits such as "Teach Your Children" and "Our House" that he made with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Nash said he came to writing songs with depth and meaning after a successful career writing pop songs for The Hollies. "I was bitten really early," he said. "I was practicing my autograph when I was a 13-year-old kid. I honed my craft with the Hollies and it was there that I started to realize that really a lot of money was to be made in writing and publishing." Once he knew that he wanted to write songs, he started with pop songs, but soon got bored with it. "They were great pop songs," he said. "But they were rather shallow, the sort of moon June type and I got a little tired of it. David (Crosby) and Steven (Stills) were writing songs that were introspective and thought-provoking and I wanted to do that." He said he learned from Crosby and Stills that the best songs are reactions to what's going on around you. "They'd just react to their lives," he said. "I wanted to write about what was happening to me personally. It could be a political song or a human tragedy or a love song. I've had a wonderful life with many talented, beautiful women and I pour my heart out." It was, in fact, his relationship with Joni Mitchell that led him to the most significant collaboration of his life. Nash was visiting Mitchell when she was also hosting Crosby and Stills, whom at that time Nash only knew casually. "They sang the song 'You Don't Have To Cry' in two-part harmony," Nash said. "At that time I was very unhappy with the Hollies. So I asked them to sing this song again. They looked at each other and sang it again." They obliged a third time at Nash's request, and this time Nash joined in with his own harmony. "We had to stop singing in the middle of the song and start laughing," Nash said. "When those notes blended in the air for the very first time a magic door opened on my soul. I wanted that sound. I thought it was incredibly joyful." Crosby, Stills and Nash was born in that moment. "It didn't really take any time at all," he said. "It took about seven minutes." The show at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center will include some of Crosby and Nash's favorite songs from the collaboration that began in the 1960s and grew to include Neil Young as well as solo efforts. "We're going to do this tour a little differently," Nash said. "Usually you start with gangbusters rock 'n' roll to get it started, and they you do a couple of things, then a hit, then a couple more things and another hit but Crosby and I this time want to do it a little differently. We want it to be the absolutely best and most interesting piece of music. We've got a great band, too. We'll be doing the hits, sure, but also some other things that are interesting, musically." At this point Nash said he and Crosby are so in tune they have an almost psychic bond, which enhances the music. He said that a couple dozen times Crosby has messed up a line of a song, and Nash has been able to anticipate, know it and mess up the same line in the same way, so that the audience is none the wiser. "We're doing really well," he said. "David is feeling phenomenal. You know he's trashed himself beyond belief over the years and needed a liver transplant. Most of them last about 8 years, but his has been working 15 or 16 years. He's lost weight and he's looking good." And the harmonies are still as sweet and joyful as ever. "It's been 40 years," he said. "And we're still alive and kicking. I love these guys. I never had brothers, but it's really very much like family for us. I can't wait for this tour. I'm lucky enough to do what I want now. And we can still sing."

E-mail correspondent Tracy Rasmussen at entertainment@readingeagle.com.

10/6/2008
Last Update: 10/6/2008 11:03:00 AM

CONCERT REVIEW: Crosby, Nash provide humor, politics and lots of great music in Reading The old rockers' harmonies remain warm and comforting as they play 23 songs for a Sovereign Performing Arts Center audience. By Jon Fassnacht Reading Eagle Two out of three ain't bad. David Crosby and Graham Nash might have been without the third member of their famous trio, Stephen Stills, but the near-capacity crowd in the Sovereign Performing Arts Center on Sunday night didn't care. The duo, joined by a top-notch quartet, played a loose 135-minute set, laughing off any instrumental faux pas and speaking at length to the crowd in between songs. "This is a beautiful theater," Nash remarked near the beginning of the show. "Don't lose it." "In California, they'd tear this down and replace it with an El Pollo Loco," Crosby said. Sure, they looked much older, but their harmonies remain warm and comforting, like an old, favorite chair. And those harmonies were on full display across 23 songs from their five decades in the music business, up through selections from the duo's 2004 release, which Nash said was cleverly titled "Crosby-Nash." "I wanted to call it the Doobie Brothers," Crosby explained. The set list, while featuring a few hits ("Our House," "Teach Your Children," "Wooden Ships"), was dominated by obscure covers, songs from solo releases and album tracks. The show could have been much longer. "I think someone figured out we had about 900 songs between us," Nash told Crosby. Click to Show Top 10 Articles "We'll be here until Thursday," Crosby joked. Many of the songs were more than 30 years old, but they still generated excitement from the crowd and, more importantly, the musicians. "Deja Vu" morphed from aggressive rock into a jazzy midsection, topped off with a harmonica solo from Nash and a tastefully dissonant solo from keyboardist James Raymond. The place was pin-drop silent, so quiet that the drum brushes seemingly echoed, aided by the theater's acoustics. Then there was "Guinevere," from the first "Crosby, Stills & Nash" album in 1969, featuring only Crosby's acoustic guitar and the pair's voices. It was perfection. Immediately after the song's conclusion, Nash pumped his fist and gave Crosby a high-five as the crowd thundered to its feet. "I have to admit, that was a good one," Crosby said, smiling. Crosby and Nash have never shied away from politics, and Sunday night was no exception. The duo dedicated songs about war to Sarah Palin, and Crosby said that even though he has destroyed most of his brain cells, unlike our president he can pronounce the word nuclear. When Nash mentioned that they were playing in Washington, D.C., tonight, Crosby joked: "I'm gonna wear a raincoat. You know there are a lot of politicians there and I don't want to get any on me." Nash flashed a look befitting an old, married couple. "Forty years of this (stuff)," he said, shaking his head.

Contact reviewer Jon Fassnacht at 610-371-5017 or jfassnacht@readingeagle.com.