Life is an unpredictable journey whose path can lead you into places that you never thought you’d end up. What’s the old saying: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? It’s almost certain that a few years ago, the idea that vaunted ‘60s singer-songwriter Graham Nash would have ended his decades-long marriage and scuttled his extremely lucrative partnership with David Crosby and Stephen Stills to embark on a renewed solo career with a fresh love interest would have probably seemed preposterous. And yet here we are.
This Path Tonight appeared 14 long years after 2002's Songs for Survivors, but Graham Nash didn't spend that decade and a half idly. In addition to semi-regular tours with David Crosby and Stephen Stills, Nash archived his CSN past by curating box sets for all three members along with a live set from 1974 that featured Neil Young. He also looked to the past via his 2013 memoir Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life.
First solo record in 14 years hints at farewells. Graham Nash OBE rages – politely and mildly – against the dying of the light here. Tender, often touching, its intimations of mortality are tempered by his innate, unshakable optimism..
Graham Nash was one of the '60s great can-do optimists. So when the guy who wrote "Teach Your Children" and decreed "we can change the world!" suddenly delivers a public "fuck you" to long-time bro David Crosby and releases a solo LP about a world that "really doesn't care/if we live or if we die," it's a bit unnerving. C'est la vie. Actually, resigned existentialism suits Nash well on his lean, reflective new set.
Eclipsed by his huge success with beat-pop legends The Hollies and harmony-driven supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, it can be easy to overlook Graham Nash’s solo work. A shame, as dotted among those six records are some fine songs and a bona-fide classic album in the shape of his 1971 debut, the gorgeously introverted Songs For Beginners. Nash’s latest solo album, his first in 14 years and the most recent spoils from a burst of late-career activity (tours with CS&N; candid memoir Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life), finds the ageing songwriter in reflective mood – his heartfelt words circling memory, mortality and departed friends; the album’s sombre mood thawed only by warm, stripped-back arrangements.
Love and mortality weigh heavily on Graham Nash, 74, throughout his deeply personal new record tracing the tentative steps toward spiritual renewal. The path navigated by the folk-rock veteran — still in fine voice — is the road to rediscovery: an aging man searching for new truths through love as twilight nears. With producer Shane Fontayne adding dimension and tension to the music, Nash’s first album of originals in 14 years is marked by hope and possibility shadowed by loss.