“CSN 2012″ by Crosby, Stills & Nash

For the first time in over two decades, Crosby, Stills & Nash welcome their audiences to experience all the brilliance of the group’s live performances right in their very own living room. CSN 2012, an album recorded to accompany the band’s first live performance film in over twenty years, brings the energy of the stage right to your very own stereo or car radio.

With just the right combination of phenomenal live performance magic captured on disk, Crosby, Stills & Nash give it their all, proving just why true fans will always continue to go to shows. Remaining true to their smooth licks and keeping a clean sound, this record combines just the right amount of the ‘live’ production element to make it a satisfying and innovative album. Including just enough audience participation along with the band’s jovial banter, this record capitalizes on all the best parts of your favorite concert without any of the claustrophobia, sweating, or beer stains on your favorite shoes.

Personally, one of my favorite parts is the seamless composition of the album which – in my opinion – is just how a live record should be. Each track flows effortlessly into the next giving the listener the distinct feel of the concert’s set list, the only breaks being from a few sprinklings of conversation from the band themselves.

A few stand-out pieces on CSN 2012 would definitely include the band’s performance of “Wooden Ships”. Co-written by Crosby and Stills along with Paul Kantner, the track combines Stills’ talent with straight rock and roll and Crosby’s self-proclaimed talent for “weird sh*t” and makes a great song. A roller coaster ride of sound, the band’s yearning vocal harmonies accented by delicate guitar and juxtaposed with an intense cacophony of organ, keys, electric guitar licks, and pounding percussion. With ten minutes of diverse musicianship, this track explores the band’s range as well as their ability to take the audience through an emotional swell all in one song.

A true Stills creation, the band’s performance of “Bluebird” is nothing short of classic rock and roll. Yet another fine example of the guys’ wonderful harmonies this track exemplifies late 60s, early 70s era true rock music. With just the right amount of electric guitar solos, easy solid percussion, chugging guitar riffs, and a dash of organ for flavor, this track still lives and breathes all its original greatness from its first recording in 1967 for Buffalo Springfield’s Buffalo Springfield Again album. Taking the track for a spin with just a little bit slower tempo, this one is just as good the second time around.

This album just wouldn’t be complete without a rendition of “Love The One You’re With”, an oldie but goodie and a song that just about everyone can sing along to. A nice addition to this version of the song is definitely the prominent keys throughout the track where older versions more solidly focus in on a heavier guitar sound. At around three and half minutes in, a nice guitar solo pays homage to the song’s origins. With a little bit more a laid back feel, the 1970s original gets a nice revamp with beautiful backing vocal harmonies and modernized musicianship.

Continuing on the tour that started it all for CSN 2012, Crosby, Stills & Nash are currently on tour in the US in support of the album with four final shows at the Beacon Theater in NYC on October 16 through the 20th. Featuring the classics as well as a few new songs you should explore for yourself, including “Radio”, “Almost Gone”, and a Bob Dylan cover, this album has everything from the members’ solo careers and more. Fans will not be disappointed.

By Alexandra Parker

If you liked this, check out:
“Beautiful Friction” by The Fixx
“Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac” by Various Artists

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