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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 8, 1994)
Thursday, September 8, 1994 Page 12
New album is timeline of turbulent past
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
Stephen Stills, of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The band featured many new
tracks off its new album, “After the Storm,” at Woodstock ‘94.
By Jill O’Brien
It seemed fitting that Crosby, Stills and
Nash, who played their first major gig at
Woodstock in 1969, returned to play at
Woodstock ’94, marking the 25th anniversary
of both the superfestival and the supergroup.
This August, at Woodstock ’94, CS&N
received flack for not playing some of their
classic songs; instead, the gods of harmony
plugged a new album.
“The name of the new album is ‘After The
Storm,’” Stephen Stills said during an inter
And yes, the name is signifying the band’s
weathering 25 years of storms together, he
CS&N has been a succession of storms and
hurricanes: battling personal demons or wait
ingout jail sentences, hot tempers, Neil Young’s
comings and goings, reunions and revivals.
Each episode is a part of rock history.
During a television interview. Stills re
called the story of how the legendary trio first
“Wc’resitting in MamaCass’ dining room
and David and I started playing, ‘In the morn
ing when you rise, do you think of me?’ and
Nash joined in,” Stills said. “Then when me
and David were driving home, we’re going,
‘How arc we ever gonna do this?’
“We didn’t know Graham wanted to quit
The Hollies. Oh,God, it was wonderful. ‘How
arc we gonna? Can we? Should we?’
“So we finally asked, ‘ Do you want to come
play with us?”’
Nash replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
Record agent David Gcficn set about untan
gling contracts to bring CS&N to Atlantic
Records. He freed Nash from The Hollies, and
Crosby from The Byrds.
Stills was already free, having disbanded
Buffalo Springfield, a country-rock band, in
Elcmcntsofcountry music prcvail, nomattcr
what album Stills plays on. This is especially
true of his last acoustic release, “Stills Alone.”
“I do country, obviously, and when you’ve
got a band and you’re doing ‘Helplessly Hop
ing,’ someone goes, ‘Gee, whiz, that sounds
just like Garth Brooks with harmony.’ Of
course it does,” he said. “It was a country song
to begin with.”
H is love for country is real, not an affixation,
“I was a cowboy. I actually worked on a
working ranch when I was a kid.”
While growing up, Stills also 1 i ved in Costa
Rica, where he was constantly exposed to Latin
dances and rhythms, he said.
As a result, his music often reflects the
strong, pulsating beat of the Flamenco guitar
“Living in Latin America probably did
more to influence my playing than any one
person,” he said. “Like mamba and samba,
there are specific dances—about ten of them
— and they’re like ancient African beats ...
folk songs translated over the years from dif
ferent countries all around South America.
“When you 1 i ve in a central place 1 ike Costa
Rica, you end up absorbing them because
they’re on the radio all the time.”
Stills’ songwriting is as diverse as his
playing, dating back to his early days with
BufTalo Springfield, when he wrote “For What
It’s Worth,” an cye-to-cyc account of the 1967
Sunset Strip Riots in Los Angeles.
“I’m a chronicler. I’m more like a reporter
than a newsmaker. I’m an observer. There’s an
important distinction,” he said, reflecting on
the many events that CS&N have chronicled.
“The Ikrl in Wall was the best one,” he said.
“Good news for a change.”
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’spolitical,
environmental and poetical ballads include
“Ohio,” “Chicago," “To the Last Whale,”
“Barrel of Pain,” and “Woodstock.” The latter
actually was written by Joni Mitchell.
On the group’s new album. Stills wrote the
song, “It Won’t Go Away.”
“It’s a sad commentary on American life,”
he said. “We’ve got a whole sub-community in
every community, and instead of trying to help
everybody, they’re just sort of courting it off
and made it a frec-firc zone.”
The chronicler and cowboy summed up
CS&N’s 25 years together.
“What we’ve tried to do is what Thomas
public, ‘No, you’re not crazy. This is really
Courtesy of Geffen Records
“Picture Perfect Morning”
Edie cuts loose, sans New Bohe
After Edie Brickcll and New Bo
hemians phenomenal success with
“Shooting Rubbcrbands at the Stars”
and the Top 40 showing of“Ghost of
a Dog.” Brickell is giving a solo
career a try with Geffen Records’
“Picture Perfect Morning.”
Although pleasant to listen to, the
album lacks some of the luster that
she (and those Bohemians) managed
to capture on her earlier efforts.
The diverse instrumentation that
appears on the album makes it stand
out from the myriad of soul-pop
sounds floating around the airwaves
_ Acoustic and electric sounds
merge together on most of the songs
various tunes. The accordion, conga,
triangle, organ and electric piano
give many of the songs eccentric
Participation from various artists
also adds to the content of the album.
Paul Simon, Brickcll’s husband, is
one of the compact disc’s co-produc
ers and contributes his musical tal
ents on the acoustic guitar as well.
Barry White adds a deep reso
nance to one of the album’s two
releases so far, “Good Times.”
The other release is “Tomorrow
Comes.” This song is one of the
album’s best tracks because of its
ability to mesh the weird sounds of
the instrumentation with the melod
ic tones of Brickcll’s vocals.
Most of the songs are too slow to
sound like much more than eccentric
K-mart music with singing.
One exception to this is the song
“Olivia.” Although still kindofslow,
the darkness or the instrumentation
and vocals, combined with some re
ally striking lyrics, makes this song
the best track on the album.
“Icicle centuries burst into gentle
breeze / Somewhere a curse has been
lifted/She turned around in her chair
and he touched her hair / And the
universe shifted.” •
Not a return to the greatness of the
past, “Picture Perfect Morning” still
has some good sounds and some
?:rcat vocals and is probably a must
or die-hard Brickcll faas.
— Joel Strauch
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
“After the Storm”
Crosby, Stills & Nash
CS&N could be finishing up their
twenty-six year run as masters of
acoustic backed harmonics. At least
that is the impression given by their
latest venture, “After the Storm”.
The album’s overall theme is one
of an older, wiser person, looking
back at what once was, and what
could have been. While sentimental
in nature, the content of the lyrics
does not bog down in a mire of
whining. Instead, the lyrics offer a
sense of coping with the past, and
looking ahead to what may yet come.
CS&N continue to provide the
listener with thoughtful, intelligent
lyrics as they have for many years.
Veterans of the music scene, they
convey a sense of maturity that most
younger, “rookie” bands have no
hope of achieving.
The music is classic CS&N. Es
tablished fans will appreciate the
dedication to stick with the acoustic
sound and harmonized voices that
have characterized them for so long.
A couple of cuts are reminiscent of
other bands such as“ America,” but it
must be remembered that “America”
rode CS&N’s wave to fame. Latin
based rhythm’s influence several
songs. The most notable being a
remembrance of lost youth entitled
“Panama,” definitely not to be con
fused with the Van Halcn ditty.
The most remarkable tracks are
“Only Waiting For You” and the title
cut “After the Storm." “Only Wait
ing" is an illustration of how sup
pressing one’s feelings over a period
of time can not only be harmful, but
probably will not work, anyway,
while it is indeed a “love” song, it
conveys its point with apoignancy so
rare in today’s angst-ridden, self
deprecating music scene. “After the
Storm”deals with pain and loss again,
with an underlying tone of hope that
takes the edge off of the overt depres
sion of the album.
“After the Storm” is intended for
established fans of the band. Listen
ers who are not familiar with the
bands sound or history will probably
be inclined to shelve in the space
labeled “easy 1 Lstening.” After sound
ing the depths of the lyrics, they will
be hard pressed to find anything easy
— Chad Johnson
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