The musician and artist will make two special Jersey Shore appearances this weekend , including a show at Borgata and an artist reception in Stone Harbor at Ocean Galleries.
Graham Nash has been playing with Crosby, Stills and Nash since 1968. Although he and his at-the-time new band mates — Crosby, a former member of the Byrds; Stills of Buffalo Springfield, and Nash of the Hollies — would become one of the biggest radio and concert sensations of the late 1960s and 1970s through today, the trio — which would also work with Neil Young for many projects — wasn’t quite ready for its first concert:
The Atlantic City Pop Festival, held at the Atlantic City Race Course in Mays Landing, just before Woodstock in August 1969.
“We didn’t play it,” says Nash, on a tour stop with CSN in Providence, Rhode Island. (The band is on the road through October and returns to the Borgata in Atlantic City on Saturday, June 30.)
Although CSN was to debut live at the A.C. Pop Fest, with its name listed on the festival’s official posters and T-shirts, etc., Nash doesn’t quite remember the circumstances.
“I’m not sure to be honest,” he says. “I’ve been asked this question twice within the last month. … I believe that we needed more practice. Don’t forget Woodstock was only the second gig we ever played together live.
“I think we might have needed more rehearsal or something. Something was going on and we didn’t play that Atlantic City [date, but] there were people who swore they saw us there!”
Aside from singing and playing on such classic tunes as “Almost Cut My Hair,” “Teach Your Children,” “Our House” and “Chicago,” Nash has been interested in art and photography for decades.
Although he has had exhibits of his photography in the past, his paintings — mainly acrylics — are being unveiled for the first time beginning this Thursday (June 28) in Stone Harbor.
While CSN plays the Borgata, Nash’s exhibit “The Art of Graham Nash” will be on display at Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Ave., Stone Harbor) through Sept. 30.
However, on July 1, Nash will be at the gallery in person for a reception between 7-10pm where he will sign purchased art.
“This exhibit has never been seen before,” says Nash. “These paintings. I’ve been working on this [exhibit] for about a year and a half now.
“This whole experience is fresh. It was amazing to me that when the gallery owners came out to my house in Los Angeles and saw my work it was their response that got me excited because, I mean, they’re supposed to know what they’re doing — they’ve had an art gallery for a couple decades now and they’re this excited! It was shocking to me.”
So Nash decided to share his intriguing imagery with the world.
“Why not let other people see them?” Nash says. “You know? It’s brand new to me and it’s going to be exciting.”
Exciting for southern New Jersey folks as well, as the Ocean Galleries exhibit is the world premiere of Nash’s paintings of images and people such as Neil Young.
Nash says he is already working on another exhibit of different works.
“I’ve done another exhibit of very serious work that I’ve been doing,” says Nash.
“Almost brutal images of things that disturb me. ... It’s hard to say what they are. They are a combination of painting and photographs and images that I made collages of — interesting work. And there will only be seven pieces in the entire exhibit. Six of them will be four-feet-square and one image will be four-feet-high by 12-feet long.”
Aside from the images that will be on display at Ocean Galleries this summer, Nash’s Web site shows more than 40 photographs the 70-year-old multi-faceted artist has taken over the years.
“I’ve been a photographer longer than I’ve been a musician,” says Nash. “The first portrait that I ever took where I thought I had something was of my mother when I was 11.”
On the Web site, there is a photo of Bob Dylan playing live at Madison Garden for the George Harrison-organized Concert for Bangladesh.
“Oh, yes I was there. That’s Leon Russell there behind him. I was there to purely watch George pull off a piece of wonderfulness. It was a great, great concert.”
So, has Nash shown any of his subjects his paintings of them?
“No, neither David [Crosby] or Stephen [Stills] Neil [Young] or Joni [Mitchell] have seen any of these. It’s kind of wild; it would be interesting to hear their reaction.” The Neil Young image was painted from a photograph Nash took of the musician “years ago.”
“I really like it and I blew it up larger on canvas and painted it. There are several in there because not only are they all different colors and different interpretations, but I wrote a line from a Neil song into every painting.”
One of the Neil Young images is called “Neil Young — Hurricane,” which is a line from his song, “Like a Hurricane.” There is also Neil Young — Old Man, with, along his shoulder line, I’ve written a line from his song “Old Man.” Just pushing it all forward.
Like fellow musician Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, who also has a southern New Jersey art exhibit (at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City through July, see images here), Nash prefers acrylic paint to oils.
“Right now, I’m loving acrylic,” says Nash. “I don’t do [work] in oil. I’m too impatient. It takes too long to dry. It takes days to dry. It drives me crazy.”
Rock Art Show at Hamilton Mall Feb. 8-10; Horseback Riding on the Atlantic City Beach
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