It’s almost impossible to hear live music in New York right now. But Graham Nash gave us a little taste, in the garden of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, with a song he wrote and recorded with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young back in 1970.
You who are on the road Must have a code that you can live by And so become yourself Because the past is just a good-bye. (From “Teach Your Children”)
Nash had been on the road performing solo, when the virus starting shutting life down.
“I was five shows into a sold-out tour, yes,” Nash told “CBS This Morning” co-host Anthony Mason. “And unfortunately, you know, it was getting crazy. I definitely was concerned about my audience and my crew and myself, you know? So yes, very strange times. We’ve been talking a long time over these years. And it’s never been this weird, has it?”
Mason asked, “How are you doing in social isolation, in effect?”
“It’s not been too weird for me. I’m not a very social creature!” Nash laughed. “I like to stay in my apartment. I like to be making music. I’m doing demos. I’ve got half an album already done.”
The 78-year-old singer has been making music for six decades now. Born in Blackpool, England, Nash co-founded The Hollies in the early sixties, one of the bands that led the British invasion.
But he started have artistic differences. Mason asked, “You left The Hollies because they wouldn’t record ‘Marrakesh Express’?”
“Well, yes,” Nash replied.
So, he found a new band to record the song. “Marrakesh Express” would be the first hit for supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash – and Nash moved from England to America.
He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both with both CSN and The Hollies.
And after years of living in Hawaii, he’s moved back to the mainland. “You’re a relatively recent New Yorker?” Mason asked.
“Yes. Well, six years!”
“Given what’s going on here right now, do you wish you were back in Hawaii any days?”
“I love it here,” said Nash. “Listen to the birds. Listen to these 12 accents you can hear before you get your coffee. Listen to the life of this city. This is an incredible city. I should have done this many, many years ago. But Hawaii wasn’t bad, either!”
Nash remarried last year, to artist Amy Grantham. Mason asked, “Are you having a hard time with any part of this?”
“No. I’ve taken four short walks with Amy to the local park to see my favorite tree. But apart from that, I’ve been in my apartment for nine weeks. We’re having a good time. And we’re still laughing about it. And after nine weeks, that’s not too bad!”
“Do you wonder when you’re gonna be back on the road?”
“Obviously, I love to perform,” said Nash. “I love to communicate. But quite frankly, I don’t see it happening until 2021. That’s almost another year away.”
In the garden of an historic 18th century church that has seen New York through a lot, Nash says he’s seen a lot, too.
Mason asked, “What is the best part of being this age?”
“The best part of being 78? I don’t care about unimportant details. Give me the truth. Tell me what’s actually going on here. How do we get out of this without losing more lives?”
And then Graham Nash left us with an encore: “Be Yourself” – a song from his very first solo album, “Songs for Beginners” – with a little revision:
How does it feel When life doesn’t seem real And you’re floating about on your own Your life seems uncertain So you draw the curtain Pretending there’s nobody home …
Be yourself (stay at home) Be yourself (take care of yourself) Be yourself Be yourself (and stay at home!)
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Story produced by Gabriel Falcon and Jay Kernis. Editor: Steven Tyler.