Crosby, Stills & Nash are plotting their first studio album since 1994 — a covers set for Columbia Records helmed by Rick Rubin.
“Rick Rubin’s a brilliant man,” Graham Nash tells Billboard.com, “and what he wants is an album with no CSN songs. He wants to do an album of all the songs we love, all the songs we wish we’ve written. It’s brilliant from this point of view because we usually wait five years to record an album. This way there’s no pressure.”
Nash says he, David Crosby and Stephen Stills have had “many discussions” with Rubin about the project, whittling the proposed list of songs from 60 down to a current 20, which the trio is rehearsing after sound checks during its summer tour. Nash declines to name specific songs but acknowledges most would be considered well-known.
He expects recording to start in early 2009 for a release later in the year. The covers set, which will be CSN’s first new release since 1994’s “After the Storm,” is one of many projects on the trio’s plate at the moment. “CSNY: Deja Vu,” the documentary of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 2006 Freedom of Speech Tour, opens July 25, with the companion live album due Tuesday. Nash, meanwhile, is overseeing a number of archival projects, including his own boxed set, which will be released in time for his 67th birthday in February.
He’s curating a Stills box set as well, and recently discovered an album’s worth of material of Stills playing with Jimi Hendrix that will be compiled for another release. Nash is also putting together a live album from CSNY’s 1974 stadium tour, a set of Crosby Nash acoustic recordings and a benefit record for the Children’s Defense Fund that will feature his and Crosby’s collaborations over the years with artists such as Elton John, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Collins, Jackson Browne and others.
Nash — who will be touring with Crosby this fall — says the sonic spelunking is invigorating.
“You fall back in love with the reason why you wanted to play with Neil Young in the first place, the reason why you wanted to play with Stephen Stills in the first place, and with Crosby in the first place,” Nash explains. “You go, ‘…I remember all this sh*t. That’s what we were trying to concentrate on.’ It’s very interesting, very enlightening.”