Be Yourself: A Tribute to Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners

Be Yourself: A Tribute to Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners


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Be Yourself: A Tribute to Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners

Tribute albums usually reflect an artist's wide-ranging influence and reputation. Be Yourself doesn't exactly fit into that category. Rather than merely celebrate Graham Nash as an artist, this set pays tribute to his first solo album, Songs for Beginners, released in 1971. Co-produced and spearheaded by Nile Nash (Graham's daughter) and Britt Govea, the pair have chosen a slate of artists to re-create the album in its proper running order. Contributors include Bonnie Prince Billy, Brendan Benson, Vetiver, Robin Pecknold, Alela Diane, Mariee Sioux (with Greg Weeks), the Moore Brothers, Sleepy Sun, Port O'Brien, and Papercuts. Nile Nash performs as well. Songs for Beginners was recorded in the aftermath of Nash's breakup with Joni Mitchell, the temporary breakup of CSNY, the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the waning idealism of the '60s. He created a space of quiet in the midst of his turmoil with beautifully articulated and arranged songs and performances that hold up 40 years later. The album produced a hit single in "Military Madness" as well as the anthems "Chicago" and its reprise "We Can Change the World." Here, Vetiver's "I Used to Be King" is the brightest moment, but the set's quality is surprisingly consistent. Benson's "Better Days" captures the disillusionment of the original version with a country-rock arrangement. "Military Madness" has been redefined for the indie rock generation thanks to a seamless collaborative reading from Port O'Brien and Papercuts; Nile Nash's "Wounded Bird" rings empathically -- if plaintively -- true. Pecknold's version of the title track contains some gorgeous backing vocals (all his) that evoke CSN's. Diane's read of "There's Only One" is stellar in its emotional revelation. Sleepy Sun's "Chicago" rocks harder than anything here and reveals the anger inherent in the history the song bears, but is then transformed by the reprise of Nash' refrain at the album's close; it becomes a paean to solidarity and hope. Re-creating a classic album, especially one this iconic, is no mean feat. Be Yourself maintains (mostly) its inspiration's spirit of quiet and heartfelt honesty, no matter its new interpretations.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/25/2010
Label: Grass Roots Record
UPC: 0897620001094
catalogNumber: 17
Rank: 230968

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paul Kamm   Background Vocals
Thomas Heyman   Electric Guitar
Chris Von Sneidern   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,12-string Guitar
Brendan Benson   Various
Greg Weeks   Various
Danny Kiely   Double Bass
Andy Cabic   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Lorraine Gervais   Background Vocals
Chris Sipe   Percussion,Drums
Jason Quever   Bass,Drums,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Otto Hauser   Drums
Peter Townsend   Percussion
Mariee Sioux   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Robin Pecknold   Various
Pete Newsom   Group Member
Cheyenne Mize   Fiddle
Van Pierszalowski   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Alela Diane   Guitar,Vocals
Mark "Lupe" Hamilton   Guitar
Sanders Trippe   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Andrew Higley   Piano
Sleepy Sun   Various
Tom Bevitori   Bass,Vocals
Tom Menig   Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Alina Hardin   Background Vocals
Meryl Press   Background Vocals
Nile Nash   Vocals
Ben Goodman   Background Vocals
Sarah Versprille   Piano,Vocals
Noelle Cahill   Background Vocals
Mike Deni   Vocal Harmony
Micah Morris   Background Vocals
Marc Dantona   Electric Bass
Elenore Macdonald   Background Vocals
Daniel Hindman   Bass,Mandolin

Technical Credits

Graham Nash   Composer,Liner Notes
Terry Reid   Composer
Joel Bernstein   Liner Notes
Colin Stewart   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Brendan Benson   Producer,Engineer
Greg Weeks   Producer,Engineer
Andy Cabic   Producer
Dana Gumbiner   Engineer
Jason Quever   Producer,Engineer
Adam Joseph   Interview Editor
Sylvie Simmons   Liner Notes
Nathaniel Russell   Layout
Robin Pecknold   Engineer
Alela Diane   Producer
Josh Antonuccio   Engineer
Tom Menig   Producer,Engineer
Nile Nash   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Bob Arellano   translation
Tahiti Pehrson   Artwork
Nina Snegg   Interview Editor
Marc Dantona   Producer
Chris Konovoliv   Engineer
Britt Govea   Executive Producer
Brian Ziffer   Web Design

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