David Crosby headlined Vancouver Island MusicFest in 2011.
This year, Graham Nash has been added to the list of performers, the festival’s executive producer Doug Cox confirmed Thursday.
“He’s going to be touring as part of a duo, and I’m not sure who the second person is going to be,” Cox said. “I’m just thrilled that we get to have him come. He’s an interesting guy.”
MusicFest will be the first stop on his summer tour, which was announced Tuesday morning.
Born in war-time England, Nash was a member of the Hollies who, along with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, were part of the British Invasion in the 1960s.
Later, after moving to California and ‘joining’ the Laurel Canyon music scene, he became part of the supergroup trio Crosby, Stills and Nash, a pioneering band that appeared at Woodstock and undertook the first-ever stadium tour.
“From a musical standpoint, there was nobody like them,” Cox said. “They did the first gigantic rock stadium tour with Bill Graham. And then the social aspect of their music as well, which Graham Nash has always been a huge supporter of. The No Nukes concert that happened in the ’70s was one of the first gigantic benefit concerts.”
The Nash song Military Madness, recorded during the Vietnam War, was one of the first anti-war songs recorded by a pop star.
At times, the overtones of the trio’s voices creates a fourth part.
“It’s called a ghost harmony, and they were kind of the masters of that,” said Cox. “Quite often when you listen to Crosby, Stills and Nash recordings, you actually hear four parts. That, to me, is one of the magical things about those guys. They don’t just sing great harmony but they’re able to mess around with their harmonic pitch enough that they can create that fourth part. It takes unique vocal tones for that to happen. It’s not just something that anybody can do.
“They wrote the book on open tunings. They wrote the book on so many different aspects of what’s become modern pop music,” Cox added. “It was pretty unusual the style they created. I don’t think anyone has ever compared in the same way.”
Nash has penned an autobiography dubbed Wild Tales. He continues to perform — sometimes solo, sometimes with Crosby, and at times with Crosby and Stephen Stills.
And he continues to speak out about issues, be it the peace movement, the human rights movement or the environmental movement.
“He’s one of the absolute icons of his generation,” Cox said. “He continues to be a voice of sanity. He’s forever spoken out about what he believes in.”
Nash is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and with the Hollies). He was also inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame twice, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a Grammy Award winner.
MusicFest is July 10-12 at the Comox Valley Fairgrounds.
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band headline Friday night and Buddy Guy performs Saturday. Nash is slated to hit the stage Sunday. Closing the festival will be Leftover Salmon featuring Bill Payne of Little Feat.
This year’s event features a tribute to Long John Baldry, with whom Cox once toured as part of his acoustic trio. Also featured is Maggie Bell — known as Scotland’s Queen of Soul — who sang on Baldry’s album, It Ain’t Easy and on Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells A Story.
“John was basically the father of the British blues movement,” Cox said. “Elton John named himself after John Baldry. Both Rod Stewart and Elton John started out in Baldry’s band.”
There will also be a project called the World Beat at Home, a concert featuring an array of multi-cultural musicians who reside in B.C.
For a complete list of artists coming to Vancouver Island MusicFest, and to purchase tickets, go to www.islandmusicfest.com
–With files from grahamnash.com