It’s common rock folklore that Graham Nash’s nickname is Willie. I have now spent nearly two hours in the man’s presence and, let me assure you, I’m no nearer calling him Willie. Give me a few more hours and I’ll be no nearer. I say all this as on Tuesday night’s Another Country we will spend some time with Mr Nash as we play out more highlights from Southern Fried Festival in Perth.
At first it seemed an odd typo that had slipped into the schedule for the weekend: ‘Record acoustic session with Graham Nash in Perth Theatre.’ Really? It seemed it was true and what’s more Graham had agreed to perform two of his very well known songs. So there we were, Mr Murdoch, our engineer, Niall Young (yes Graham liked that) and Alan Braidwood – the AC’s in-house expert photographer watching Graham and his sideman, ace guitarist – Shane Fontayne quietly perform two beautiful versions of very well know songs from his back catalogue.
Our guests on the AC are 99% a total pleasure to host. We have the occasional bout of nerves, haughty stardom, diffidence or outright hostility but it’s so rare it really is unworthy of mention. Graham Nash’s ease, humility and musical generosity deserve a category all of their own. It was really when I watched him cross the room to pick up a chair for himself that my mind spun back 40 odd years.
I was 17 years old and travelling from Dundee to the Glasgow Apollo to see Neil Young for the first time. I’d had the tickets for weeks and yes, I was excited. What I’d forgotten until that moment I looked up to see Graham Nash crossing the floor with the quotidian chair was this….I’d spend days and nights before that day in 1976 imagining what I’d do if I ran into one of Crosby or Nash outside the Apollo. Clearly, I imagined, should the suggestion come from them I would drop everything I was about to do and run away with them to join the great rock ‘n’ roll circus. That’s how big a star Mr Nash was to me.
Shane Fontayne, your host and Graham Nash
So when he placed that chair down, the songs were recorded and we spent a little while in conversation you’ll forgive me if I occasionally had to pinch myself a little. We’d met before, though he couldn’t recall it, but getting Graham to sing for you…for your own radio show…what would my 17 year old Dundonian self have said?
You can hear that conversation this Tuesday as well as a catch up chat with our good friend Yola Carter who recorded a beautiful live session for us.
As well as this we’ll have new music from Odetta Hartman, Rayland Baxter, Phosphorescent and Dawn Landes. As ever we’re on air from five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland. Join me if you can.