Musician Graham Nash is a man on fire

Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, 74, will release his sixth solo album, This Path Tonight, next month.
Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, 74, will release his sixth solo album, This Path Tonight, next month.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Forget Crosby, Stills & Nash. Musician Graham Nash is looking forward to going solo again

Veteran singer-songwriter Graham Nash may have fallen out with his band members of five decades, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and with his second wife Susan Sennett, to whom he was married for 38 years, but he says unflinchingly: "I'm on fire right now."

The 74-year-old was in Singapore to promote his first solo effort in 14 years, This Path Tonight, a collection of deeply personal and reflective songs.

Speaking to The Straits Times at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, he says: "This new record is purely me falling in love at 74 and changing my entire life."

He says he has met the love of his life, who shares his passion for photography.

"I was married to the same woman for 38 years and, a couple of years ago, we decided to divorce. And in the meantime, I fell in love with a beautiful New York artist," he says, referring to his girlfriend Amy Grantham, who also photographed the cover of his new album. He is now based in New York with her.

The Briton, who is from Lancashire, wrote the album with Crosby, Stills & Nash's second guitarist, Shane Fontayne, in October 2014. Early last year, he recorded the songs in just eight days in the studio. The album will be released on April 15.

His prolific career, however, has spanned five decades, starting off in 1962 with British pop-rock group The Hollies and then with folk supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash from 1968.

The group comprised him, David Crosby and Stephen Stills and they sometimes went by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young whenever Neil Young joined the line-up.

As a trio or quartet, the group are considered one of America's most successful bands, with all four inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice, as solo artists and as a group.

Recently, however, Nash told Billboard that the band was over and his relationship with Crosby has deteriorated to the point of no return.

He was quoted as saying: "Right now, I don't want anything to do with Crosby at all. It's just that simple. In my world, there will never, ever be a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young record and there will never be another Crosby, Stills & Nash record or show."

With his upcoming solo album - his sixth - he does not seem to need his former bandmates.

Working with Fontayne, with whom he shared a tour bus while touring with the group, was also different from working with his long-time collaborators, Crosby and Stills.

He says: "When there are three of you in a band and each of you is a strong writer, you can have only so many songs of yours in a show or record.

"On my record, I don't have to ask them what songs to sing."

The sessions with Fontayne were so productive that one of the songs, Myself At Last, was recorded on the first try. "It's the very first attempt at the very first song we tried and it was good enough for the master version," he says.

On the new 10-track album, he sounds just like he did 50 years ago, his voice unchanged by years on the road.

He says he has not done anything special to maintain his distinctive tenor voice. "I don't have a vocal coach, I don't do vocal exercises and I warm up a little before my shows obviously, but my voice has been like this all my life. I'm a lucky boy."

He was first in Singapore this time last year for a show with Crosby, Stills & Nash at The Star Theatre, but says he will be back in the Republic next year as part of the tour for the new record.

"And I'd also like to do a show of my photographs in that beautiful museum there," he says, pointing in the direction of the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, which can be seen from the hotel window. He says he has been a photographer longer than he has been a musician.

He adds: "I heard that Annie Leibovitz did her show there. Well, so can I."

• This Path Tonight will be released on April 15.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'Nash is a man on fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe