This Path Tonight
Fourteen years since his last solo album, 2002's Songs For Survivors, Graham Nash has released his 14th solo album, This Path Tonight. Whether it's a funny coincidence or a stroke of poetic serendipity, it's certainly long overdue. One can assume, because of the length of time between solo albums, Nash makes them in the wake of the various circumstances occurring in his life. Some may speculate Songs For Survivors, his first solo album in eight years previous, was put together in the wake of breaking both his legs in a freak boating accident in 1999. As for This Path Tonight, a divorce, turning 74 and what looks like to be the end of Crosby, Stills & Nash may be the impetus behind its making. Nash even said during a 2015 interview that events like these "feeds into songs."
The $64,000 question seems to be: What path is Nash on here? The title track tries to answer that question in its own willowy, moody way. "Where will it lead me?" he asks, and it becomes obvious he doesn't quite know, though he's willing to find out. It would be easy to say the man is facing a midlife crisis except he's way past that. Tracking through the record, you get a sense that through gestures of self-discovery and transition (the title track, "Myself At Last," "Encore"), reflections of his colorful past and the characters who helped shape his life ("Cracks In The City," "Golden Days," "Back Home"), and pleas for redemption ("Target," "Another Broken Heart"), Nash is trying to find a path filled with love, happiness and comfort.
Rich in production, arrangement and harmony, This Path Tonight was produced by Shane Fontayne, with whom Nash says he wrote 20 songs in a month and recorded in eight days. Fontayne, who also plays guitar on the album, put a band together with Todd Caldwell on Hammond organ, Jay Bellerose on drums and percussion, Jennifer Condos on bass, and Patrick Warren on piano. So, there's no shortage of musicality on this record. Indeed, a new album, a new band and a new path are all signs of a new beginning for Graham Nash. CSN seemingly in his rearview mirror, his personal life derailed, and on first listen it's easy to see This Path Tonight is none short for sentiment and contemplation. But there's also a tone of hope, anticipation and wonder that indicate the man is nowhere finished making meaningful, emotive music to touch nerves and stir souls.
~ Shawn Perry