Graham Nash performed “Back Home,” a deeply emotional tribute to the Band’s Levon Helm, last night on Talks Music — the new interview and music program from Sky Arts.
Nash, who rose to fame with the Hollies before co-founding the supergroup Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), says he wrote “Back Home” when he found out Helm’s cancer had returned, and that the sad end was near.
In keeping with one of Helm’s most famous vocals with the Band, “Back Home” begins with the line “take a load off” — echoing a key Robbie Robertson lyric in 1968’s “The Weight.” Then Nash moves into deeper waters, quietly encouraging his old friend to “lay your burden down. … Take your time, because time will take you.”
In an earlier talk from the stage, Nash confided: “It must be because I’m getting older, but we seem to be losing friends by the day. And when our friend Levon Helm died — he was an incredible writer and singer and drummer in the Band — Shane (Fontayine) and I got our heads together in the back of the bus before a show, and we ended up writing this song.”
Fontayine has previously worked with Bruce Springsteen, John Waite, Ian Hunter and others.