It somehow seems so fitting that just a few weeks ago, Graham's daughter Nile Nash, along with founder and director of all things (((folkYEAH!))), Britt Govea, released Be Yourself: A Tribute to Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners on the always amazing Grass Roots Record Company. The record features covers by Alela Diane, Vetiver, Brendon Benson (Raconteurs), Sleepy Sun, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Mariee Sioux & Greg Weeks (Espers), Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) and more! You can hear samplings of tracks from the beautiful album below:
Britt was kind enough to answer my questions about the release and how it all came together. Check out the interview below!
In recently trying to fill in a friend on what I'd spent the last year or two listening to, I realized that my personal taste tends to gravitate towards some element of either Folk form (any hint of hill-folk finger-pickin' or Ozark/Appalachian melancholy and I'm in), Psychedelia or the tendency to extend a theme for a good long jam (a category in which I include a lot of the Jazz that I like), or just a great, funky groove.
With those qualifiers in place, the following is a year by year review of the last decade which somehow got past me with out noticing it. I mean, really?!! 2010?!!! I didn't see it coming:
2000: Album of the Year
Air's enjoyable and wacky Moon Safari had been on the decks for a couple years before they contracted for the soundtrack to Sofia Coppolla's Virgin Suicides. The resultant score is absolutely sublime and marked the French electronauts as contenders to watch.
For myself, it was the defining sound of the millennium's new year.
Shelby Lynne released a killer country-soul gem, I Am Shelby Lynne, that echoed early material from the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Thinking that it was a brilliant debut from a talented 32yo unknown, I was eventually shocked to find that it was her 6th album. I listened to it for months.
Album artwork by Justin Limoges
Where does the name Mt Egypt come from?
Travis: The name Mt. Egypt came from an area in rural North Carolina out by my father’s house. It’s an homage to him, his songwriting and to spending long periods in the wilderness with little to no human contact.
When did you pick up the guitar?
Travis: My old man got me playing guitar when I was 12 or 13.
How did you start writing songs?
This time, however, I had my doubts at first; now that I have had a few weeks to settle in with Bonnie Prince Billy, aka Will Oldham's latest, Beware, plus seen him perform material from it live, I am starting to get more and more into it. At first all the production work and the over the top backing vocals were getting in the way of my enjoyment of the record, but now the goodness of the songs has seeped into my brain and I've noticed I have tracks from Beware stuck in my head constantly, which is usually the most inescapable way of knowing when something is getting to me.
I think it's weird that the media is labeling this album "mature," and calling it his move toward a more "popular" sound...it's just plain wrong, really, because if anyone in the biz has just been doing exactly what he goddamn pleases, thank you very much, in his music for going on two decades, it's been Will Oldham. The media onslaught he's brought upon us for this record is, I believe, him trying to help sell records for Drag City's sake; it's not a ploy to catch the attention of the mainstream. That is something Oldham has never courted with any real commitment, or, in my opinion, any actual interest whatsoever. Oldham seems truly happy following his own muse, and I, for one, am continually ecstatic to listen to the result-- over the top backing vocals or not!