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October 30, 2013
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Graham Nash’s ‘roots’ in Nevada County

A few years back, a few friends got together at a party and decided to make a tribute album to Graham Nash. Not just any album of the prolific singer/songwriter, though, it would have to be his first solo album, “Songs for Beginners.” The music was as solid today as it was in 1971 when the album was originally released.

“There was a cross-section of modern musicians who were so thrilled to be able to sing Graham Nash’s music,” Nevada City resident Mike Snegg said of the tribute album. “It is relevant to today’s society and to these kids.”

He should know. It was his son, Marc Snegg, along with Graham Nash’s daughter Nile Nash and Britt Govea, founder of (((folkYEAH!))) Presents, who came up with the idea for the album at a party in Stinson Beach. At the time, Marc Snegg was operating Grass Roots Records, and the three produced “Be Yourself” in 2010 under that label.

The tribute features a mix of talented young musicians across the U.S. and some a little closer to home. Marc Snegg’s Nevada City influence is seen on the album with local stand-outs Mariee Sioux, Alela Diane, Pete Newsom and the Moore Brothers, Greg and Thom, featured in songs for “Be Yourself.” A few of the songs were even recorded in Nevada County. Other notable musicians on the album include Robin Pecknold (last week he performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with his band Fleet Foxes), Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Brenden Benson. Nile Nash sings two of her father’s songs for “Be Yourself,” “Wounded Bird” and “We Can Change The World.”

For the album cover, Marc Snegg, Nile Nash and Govea once again tapped into Nevada County’s pool of talented artists and used Tahiti Pehrson and his intricate stylings.

Mike Snegg, his wife Nina, and their three children are longtime family friends of the Nashes and their three children. For Graham Nash, this album was a huge honor, Nina said.

“One of the things Graham always wanted to do was reach out to the younger generation,” Nina said. “He hadn’t really done that. … When this album came out, he realized his music meant something to the younger generation.”

The album left such an impression, Nash references it toward the end of his recently released autobiography, “Wild Tales.”

“(The album) was wonderful because it came from his daughter. It was a gift from Nile,” Nina Snegg said.

For those interested in “Be Yourself,” copies are available locally at Clock Tower Records, online and through iTunes.

Last week, I got the chance to interview Graham Nash. He is so nice, it felt more like a conversation than an interview with the two-time inductee to the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame (for The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young). Nash will perform a solo show in Grass Valley Nov. 9. His kind nature and incredible talent for writing songs that not only remain relevant today but influence new generations of musicians hold the promise of a memorable show.

Even more amazing is the fact that he personally chose our community for this tour.

For more about his concert, go to http:// thecenterforthearts.org.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be reached at bbentley@theunion.com or by calling 530-477-4219.


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The Union Updated Oct 30, 2013 10:42PM Published Nov 1, 2013 10:14AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.