Nash delivers remarkable ‘bunch of songs’ - Cape Cod Times
Nash’s talent is his singular voice.
Nash, a pivotal member of two supergroups of the ’60s and ’70s, the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, was all that. As one of the founding members of the Hollies, he co-wrote some of their biggest hits as the pop band rode the first wave of the British Invasion following the massive international success of the Beatles. Nash left in 1968 to form Crosby, Stills & Nash, later adding Neil Young, and their songs reflected the post-“Sgt. Peppers” turn away from pop to lyrics with more bite and were an essential part of the soundtrack of the social consciousness of that generation.
Nash led off with the Hollies hit “On a Carousel,” his high soprano voice instantly recognizable on a bouncy tune that began what would be a night of sing-alongs under the stars at the Payomet Performing Arts Center. He followed with “Carrie Ann,” another Hollies staple, and another audience participation number. Both songs are guaranteed to make you want to try your hand at three-part harmony while driving in your car.
Just as he did in 1968, Nash moved on to the CSN and sometimes Y songbook. “Marrakesh Express,” he told the audience, was written after he took a holiday from touring with the Hollies and sought out Beat poets and writers like Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs (“They smoked pot and wrote poetry,” he told the audience adding incredulously “For a living?”), traveling from Casablanca to Marrakesh in a first-class cabin.
“All we have for you is a bunch of songs,” he said, and what a bunch they were on the CSN debut album: 10 songs studded with some of the biggest hits ever written by three strong songwriters, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Nash. They included “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Helplessly Hoping,” “Wooden Ships” and “Lady of the Island,” which Nash performed Monday night with all the intensity of the remembrance of an affair he could still reach out and touch in memory and in song.
“I Used To Be a King,” from a solo album, was another ode to love and longing and few equal Nash in being able to evoke sincerity and imbue emotion into lyrics he’s sung a million times. The song highlighted the often subtle, always masterful guitar work of Shane Fontayne, who toured with Bruce Springsteen, Sting and the band Lone Justice. A master of slide guitar, and accomplished in all genres from growling rock to country chicken pick, Fontayne stood in for the band, accompanying Nash, who stuck to acoustic guitar, piano and harmonica, by providing multiple parts that stood in for everything from the infectious riff on “Carousel” to the thunderous final chord on the Beatles’ masterpiece “A Day in the Life.”