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Graham Nash: This Path Tonight

First solo record in 14 years hints at farewells.

Graham Nash OBE rages – politely and mildly – against the dying of the light here. Tender, often touching, its intimations of mortality are tempered by his innate, unshakable optimism.

He’s tried to be his best, he asserts. While he’s not above lapsing into clichés like ‘this lonesome road’, he can still surprise with a line like ‘I’m screaming at the universe just enough to make her laugh.’

The finale, Encore, avoids gloopy sentiment with a wry, ‘Sure, sure, that adulation is so pleasing…’ and in Golden Days, which begins, ‘I used to be in a band made up of my friends/We played across the land when music had no end,’ he manages a quip about the “olden” days. Helpfully, it rhymes.

This feathery feast of acoustic-based songs is produced and co-written by Brit-born Shane Fontayne (once Springsteen’s guitarist), with Nash’s voice – slightly clipped now – front and centre. A gentle fleshing-out of tracks might’ve boosted it, but this is as close as the ever-youthful 74-year-old has yet come to doing an American Recordings. Autumnal, rather than valedictory.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.