With so many rock legends boarding the great tour bus in the sky, the surviving performers can be forgiven existential thoughts. This new offering from the former Hollies/CSNY man opens with the line “Where are we going” and goes on: “I may not know where I’m going/But I’m on this path tonight”. This slightly melancholic frame of mind permeates the album, with Nash looking back on his life and wondering what it all means, realising we’re all “here in the same boat” and “standing in the same shoes/Frightened by the same fears”.
He looks back on his former career, presumably CSNY, with Golden Days: “I used to be in a band, made up of my friends … whatever happened to all you need is love”.
Admittedly you could take an alternate reading of this song — Nash is also complaining that back in the day songs about love and finding your way through life were enough, whereas today performers must show that “we all need to care”. Less of a man expressing regret at the loss of the innocence than a grumpy old git moaning that everything has to be for charity.
The closer is Encore, about a person having to face what they really are when they can’t “turn your back on what you face”.
Musically, it’s laid back acoustic rock somewhere between Phil Collins and Neil Young; the sound of an old hippy who’s good at what he does and a little stoned as well as tired. Lyrically the songs tell stories and it’s interesting. A strong album that will appeal to folkies as well as Nash’s long-term fans.
Worth a mention is Shane Fontayne, who plays guitar and co-writes all the songs. If you spend any time on social media, you’ll have seen a link to Ann and Nancy Wilson’s cover of Stairway To Heaven with Jason Bonham on drums and Robert Plant blubbing. Fontayne plays guitar on that, and he’s toured with Bruce Springsteen, worked with the likes of Joe Cocker and Johnny Hallyday, and has been Marc Cohn’s touring guitarist since 1998.