With the 2020 presidential election just weeks away, legendary artist Graham Nash is issuing one of the most urgent and meaningful songs of his historic career, a powerful call-to-action song that packs its unmistakable message in its title: “Vote.”
LISTEN to “VOTE” HERE
The song is accompanied by a special video produced and directed by noted filmmaker Andrew Thomas.
“As an artist and as an American citizen for over 40 years, I feel it’s important to use my voice any way I can,” says Nash. “All elections are important, but none so much as this one. Our very democracy is at stake. There are many other issues, of course, some of which are being brought to light in the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearings, but first and foremost is our democracy – we’re in real danger of losing it.”
Just in case there were any doubt, Nash makes his choice abundantly clear: “We need to support Joe Biden – it’s that simple,” he says. “Sure, I’ll admit there’s some things about him that I don’t like, but when you compare him to Trump there’s no question in my mind what we should do. We need to elect Biden and turn things around.”
Musically, “Vote” is a gorgeous addition to the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s stunning body of work. Over longtime collaborator and producer Shane Fontayne’s lush guitars, Nash’s impeccable lead vocals and harmonies flood the senses majestically as he implores citizens to do their part: “You can vote, you can vote/ If you’re of age you’ve really got a lot of power/ If you can vote and don’t you can’t complain/ The time to act is getting shorter by the hour/ You can change it, make it matter to you.”
Interestingly, Nash reveals that he first wrote the words to “Vote” 25 years ago but had never recorded it. However, after witnessing the results of the 2016 election, he felt that the song’s message needed to be heard. “Four years ago, 48 percent of the people who were registered to vote didn’t show up, and look where we ended up,” he notes. “Maybe they thought Hillary had it all wrapped up, or maybe it was snowing that day or whatever. It’s shameful not to vote. In other countries, people still die to exercise that right. I felt that it was very important to bring this song out now.”
Earlier this year, the singer embarked on a sold-out tour of North America, but he was forced to leave the road after five dates when the COVID pandemic hit. He and Fontayne had been playing “Vote” to themselves on their tour bus, so once back home Nash decided it was time to record the song properly – remotely. Fontayne laid down an arrangement on guitar and bass, and then Nash sent the file to his keyboardist of 10 years, Todd Caldwell, to record Hammond organ, piano and saxophone tracks. Next, Caldwell’s brother Toby added drums and percussion, and then Nash recorded his vocals in his New York studio.
“It’s remarkable what you can do with remote recording these days,” says Nash. “We mixed and mastered the track, and it came out great. You wouldn’t know the track was recorded at different times from New York to Los Angeles. It sounds like a band playing together in a studio.”
Over the course of his career, Nash has lent his voice to some of the most vital protest songs in music history – CSNY’s “Ohio” and his own classic “Military Madness” and “Chicago,” just to name a few. “Protest songs are still being written and performed, but the fact is, the media doesn’t want artists to get involved,” he says. “They don’t want you to rock the boat or upset the status quo. They want you to lie down and shut up so they can sell you something.”
Nevertheless, he persists. “I’ve never seen things like this,” he says. “We now have over 215,000 people in this country dead from COVID – that’s unconscionable. And people are still calling it fake; they’re saying these deaths don’t exist. And look at Trump’s admiration for oligarchs. He associates with those people because he wants to be like them. We have to make sure that we defeat him, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m putting this song out now. We have only a few weeks left. People need to get out and