Songs For Survivors
OK. Let’s get straight to the point …………. This album is amazing ……… go out and buy on the day of release………… you won’t regret it !!!!
Throughout the solo part of his career Nash has been one for quality over quantity. Many of his contemporaries have been churning out album after album, with even great artist and songwriters like Paul McCartney and Neil Young giving us more than just the occasional bummer.
But this is Nash’s first album since 1986’s Innocent Eyes and only his fifth all told. Innocent Eyes may not have worn well over the years, largely due to the use of the electronic/computerized/synthesized sounds popular at the time but, in the main, Graham’s output has been excellent. I cannot think of a duff track on any of his solo albums or his contributions to any of the CSN, CSNY or C&N combos.
I’ve listened to this CD non-stop since it arrived, possibly 50 times or more; whilst only time will tell, I’m going to pin my flag to the mast and say this is his best ever.
In parts the album has a feel, mainly through some of the instrumental parts, (especially the use of harmonica and slide guitar) of both Wild Tales and Earth & Sky, yet sounds very much up to date. Overlooking, for a moment the diversion/experimentation of Innocent Eyes, Songs For Survivors is very much a follow-up to the trilogy of Songs For Beginners, Wild Tales and Earth & Sky. (I nearly wrote squaring of the circle, but being both a Nash fan and an optimist I’m hoping there’s more to come ……… and sooner than 16 years!).
Graham has a distinctive sound on harmonica and the middle eight of Nothing In The World is both trade mark Nash, and has a feel of Oh Camil (from Wild Tales). Parts of this song also remind me, in fact have me wanting to sing, Unequal Love (from CSN's After The Storm).
He has used some great musicians (see below) and his long time best friend David Crosby supplies some exquisite vocal harmonies. As another critic wrote; “I honestly believe that God must have designed David Crosby's voice to be the perfect complement to Nash's – when the two harmonize, the result is an entirely new entity, with a voice that is magical and heartbreaking, and so much more than the sum of its parts.” So true I wish I’d written that! There is also another vocalist credited, Sydney Forest; I’m not familiar with him but, boy does he sound good.
A couple of the songs are familiar to regular CSN and C&N concert goers, I’ve heard many recordings of Liar’s Nightmare live and acoustic, but this recording with this band is astonishingly good. The cover of Richard & (or?) Linda Thompson’s Pavanne is also an amazing recording, Nash’s very passionate voice as clear as a bell in the mix, with the previously mentioned Sydney Forest on sublime harmony.
Dirty Little Secret, Blizzard of Lies, Lost Another One, The Chelsea Hotel, I'll Be There For You, Nothing in the World, Where Love Lies Tonight, Pavanne, Liar's Nightmare, Come With Me.
The full gamut is here; made up stories, true stories, his own experiences, his love for Susan, anger; Nash has never been afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and does so all over this album.
Favourite or best track?? Geez ……… ALL OF THEM. At the risk of repeating myself, this is an astonishingly good album; great songs, great performances, great vocals and terrific mixing/mastering (or whatever it is that the backroom guys do.)
The musicians: Graham Nash, Russell Kunkel, Matt Rollings, Viktor Krauss, Dan Dugmore, Steve Farris, Dean Parks, and Lenny Castro, with Sydney Forest and David Crosby on backing vocals.
The album was produced by Russell Kunkel, Nathaniel Kunkel, and Graham Nash, and was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Nathaniel Kunkel. The DVD-Audio was produced by Jeff Levinson.
Unfortunately for those of us not yet equipped, it comes out first on DVD-Audio on 30th April, with no date yet set for the standard CD, but be sure not to miss it !! Or go out and buy that DVD player and cinema sound system you’ve been hankering after!
Graham Baker, Stockport, UK, April 2002.
A Review of Songs For Survivors for the Authorized Graham Nash Site.
I absolutely love this record; it is pure Nash at his very best, a must for all Nash fans. Even if I wasn’t a Nash fan, I would adore this record. The set list demonstrates Graham’s ability to write songs that can stir emotions and touch one’s very soul. Whether he’s singing about love, the loss of friends, social or political issues, the words translate to the listener his emotions. Add some top notch melodies coupled with some very talented background musicians, and voila, you have a great new record. Here are some of my thoughts and individual comments on each of the songs, from a simple fan’s perspective, believe me I am no music critic.
Dirty Little Secret is the explosive rocker of the record, sounds even better live. CSN
performed this song on their CSN Summer 2001 tour and the audiences
loved it. The song has a little of a reggae sound, at least in my
opinion. The song is about the race riots that took place in
back in 1921 that were kept secretive, hence the title, “Dirty Little
Secret.” It would be hard not to rock to this number.
Blizzard of Lies
is a nice tune with a little country sound to it.
Lost Another One is one of my favorites. I repeatedly hit the repeat button on this
one. It’s about losing friends over the years and realizing our own
mortality. It is easy to relate to this song as we’ve all experienced
death at some point in our lives. Although it deals with a solemn
subject, the melody is so upbeat, I found myself singing along……and
dancing too! I REALLY liked the guitar and drums on this one.
The Chelsea Hotel was not one I liked, at least not at first. But once I listened again,
I changed my mind. It starts out soft and slow, and then when the
crescendo of the music comes in, it really catches you and I found
myself really getting lost in it. The next 2 songs speak of