Legendary artist Graham 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 twice into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a GRAMMY Award winner. His remarkable body of work, beginning with his contributions to the Hollies opus from 1964 to ’68 (including ‘Stop Stop Stop’, ‘Pay You Back With Interest’, and ‘On A Carousel’) continues all the way to This Path Tonight (2016), his most recent solo album.
The original classic union of Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young) lasted but twenty months. Yet their songs are lightning rods embedded in our DNA, starting with Nash’s ‘Marrakesh Express’, ‘Pre-Road Downs’ (written for then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell), and ‘Lady Of the Island’, from the first Crosby, Stills & Nash LP (1969).
Overlapping CSNY, Nash’s solo career debuted with Songs For Beginners (1971), whose ‘Chicago/We Can Change the World’ and ‘Military Madness’ were fueled by the Long Hot Summer, the trial of the Chicago Eight, and the ongoing Vietnam war. Songs from that LP stayed in Nash’s concert sets for years including ‘I Used To Be A King’ and ‘Simple Man’. His next album, Wild Tales (1974), addressed (among other issues) unfair jail terms for minor drug offenses (‘Prison Song’), unfair treatment of Vietnam vets (‘Oh! Camil’), the unfairness of fame (‘You’ll Never Be the Same’), and his muse, Joni (‘Another Sleep Song’).
In recognition for his contributions as a musician and philanthropist, Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth.
Now in its fifth year, River Town brings the music of America’s heartland to the south west in a summer celebration of roots and Americana music. With a vibrant programme of blues, bluegrass, country and gospel, 2019’s series is packed full of performances from global icons and rising stars.
In 2019 the River Town series takes place at venues across Bristol including St George’s
Bristol, The O2 Academy, SWX, The Winston Theatre at Bristol University SU and The Crofters Rights,
and also makes its first foray into Bath with two performances at The Forum. With artists including k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, The Shires, The Mavericks, Keb’ Mo’ and Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton, it’s the most ambitious programme yet.
River Town began in 2015 under the banner of Bristol Americana Weekend and under a co-producing partnership between Colston Hall and St George’s Bristol presented Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Larkin Poe, Police Dog Hogan, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham and many more outstanding artists of American roots music.
The festival returned after wide-spread acclaim in 2016 to feature Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the now internationally famous The White Buffalo.
In 2017 we launched the festival for a third year under the new name of River Town and showcased some of the finest blues, gospel, country and bluegrass, from across the pond and closer to home in Colston Hall, St George’s Bristol and for the first time in O2 Academy. Three UK greats – Paul Carrack, Nick Lowe and Andy Fairweather Low – joined forces in a rare trio performance that celebrated their shared love of American R&B, soul and country. The compelling singer songwriter Martha Wainwright performed along with R&B powerhouse, gospel legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples. Plus performances by duo The Shires with crossover stars Ward Thomas brought country-pop to Bristol.
In 2018 the festival expanded across the city as part of our Colston Hall Presents programme, showcasing events taking place in venues across Bristol during the Hall’s Transformation project. In it’s fourth iteration River Town’s line-up featured music icons Graham Nash and Rosanne Cash alongside The Barr Brothers, Steve Earle & The Dukes, The White Buffalo.