Thursday, May 12, 2016

This Path Comes To Chicago

Photo of Graham Nash and Shane Fontayne by Amy Grantham from the Graham Nash Facebook page.

“You know this one, right?” Graham Nash asked, before launching into “Chicago” as his first encore at City Winery last night. He had ended a well-received show by getting the audience to vigorously sing along to “Our House.” For those of us who had seen Nash’s July 2015 concert at The Arcada in St. Charles, last night offered more evidence that his current musical alliance with guitarist-vocalist Shane Fontayne is paying off nicely. Fontaine co-wrote, produced, and performed on This Path Tonight, the first solo effort from Nash in quite some time. He’s a veteran of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tours, and has also worked with Sting and Bruce Springsteen.

It was a pleasant surprise last July when Nash introduced a couple new songs as being from an upcoming solo album, and last night’s performance found him and Fontayne tapping into the recently released This Path Tonight more extensively. The stripped-down live arrangements of “Back Home” (dedicated to Levon Helm), “Golden Days,” “Myself At Last,” “Another Broken Heart,” and the title track underscored the craftsmanship and true emotions Nash and Fontayne put into writing them. And as they harmonized perfectly on song after song, it was obvious Fontayne is a worthy successor to Nash’s highly regarded singing partners David Crosby and Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke.

Nash once again exuded a casual, friendly presence, and introduced several songs with funny anecdotes. The wide-ranging selection began with an appealing and acoustic take on The Hollies’ “Bus Stop,” and Nash connected “King Midas In Reverse” from the final album he recorded with the British Invasion band with “I Used To Be A King” from his solo debut Songs For Beginners. He brought the audience to its feet with “Just A Song Before I Go,” “Wind On The Water,” and “Wasted On The Way.” Nash left the audience with a spirited version of “Teach Your Children.”

Graham Nash returns to City Winery Chicago tonight, and he has just announced a batch of new concert dates in America and Europe.

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