Brendan Benson Honors Graham Nash Alongside All-Star Indie Cast
Brendan Benson and Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, could barely say "mama" when Graham Nash released his critically-acclaimed solo album, 'Songs for Beginners.' Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold wasn't even born yet, neither was Nash's own daughter Nile. All four, along with a bunch of other musicians, appear on the new 11-track 'A Tribute to Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners,' out May 25 on Grassroots Records.
"I wasn't ever a giant fan of CSNY," Benson admits to Spinner. "I had always loved the Hollies and was particularly obsessed with Graham's voice and at some point I put it together that he was the same guy in CSNY."
Benson delved deeper after discovering Nash had recorded some solo work and remembers picking up a copy of 'Songs for Beginners.' "I think I listened to it and nothing else for about a month," he admits. "I studied it like it was some unearthed, ancient manuscript. I love the sound of it overall. It sounds so simple and effortless when in actuality it's a complex work of art."
Written during a split from Crosby, Stills and Nash and his breakup with Joni Mitchell, Nash's album produced classic songs like 'Simple Man,' 'Used to Be a King' and the hit 'Chicago.' "Originally I wanted to do 'Used to Be a King,' but it had been taken," Benson admits of the track Vetiver covered on the compilation. "So Nile suggested I do 'Better Days.' I couldn't believe that one hadn't been snatched up already. I love all the songs on 'Songs for Beginners,' but of course one can't help but have a few favorites and 'Better Days' just happened to be one of mine."