Michael Nesmith finished his tour with the First National Band Redux in September, celebrating the re-release of his post-Monkees proto-Americana work with the original First National Band. I was happy see the Boston stop on the First National Band tour. The band was tight and swinging. Nesmith was spry and in good humor. He walked on to a cheering crowd and gave a little background on his “Nudie” cowboy hat. The audience was silent for the next minute while Nesmith got his guitar situated, and he addressed the awkwardness, laughing a bit as he said, “Won’t be long now!”
The material is worth another look, if you haven’t listened in a while. “Calico Girlfriend,” “Nine Times Blue,” “Listen To the Band,” “Joanne,” all lost classics in Nesmith’s catalogue. Most of the songs were rendered fairly faithfully, with a little bit of tinkering. “Nevada Fighter” got a bracing new a cappella opening, and there was a lot of hot guitar work throughout the evening. Not sure if Nesmith with ever go out with this material again, at least not highlighting it the way this tour did.
There’s a lot going on in Nesmith’s world. There is a new Monkees Christmas album out. Nesmith just announced some new dates for March 2019 with “The Mike & Micky Show” with former Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz. And yesterday, on the Michael Nesmith’s VideoRanch3D Facebook page, a graphic popped up that states, “November 19 – NEZ has something to announce.” I’ll update this post once the announcement is officially made (see below).
But before we move on to all of the new stuff, I wanted to take one more look at the First National Band Redux. This is the video that announced the tour, with NEZ and the new band playing “Grand Ennui” at the Troubadour, where Nesmith established himself decades ago before he got the gig with the Monkees.
Nesmith was the featured interview on the Department of Tangents Podcast EP33. You can download it on iTunes or Stitcher, or listen to it online on the DoT blog.
UPDATE: Today’s announcement is news about yet another tour, six dates in California, Washington, and Oregon, which will feature Nesmith and pedal steel player Pete Finney playing songs from Nesmith’s 1972 album And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’. That album featured Nesmith and pedal steel player O.J. “Red” Rhodes, and included Nesmith’s first studio recording of his song “Different Drum,” which had previously been recorded by the Greenbriar Boys and Linda Ronstadt.