Chronicling CCR's greatest hits at Frederick's Weinberg Center
FREDERICK, Md. — Nick Walsh came of age in the 1980s, so while growing up, he listened mostly to music from that decade and the 1970s.
Later, as a rock singer, he worked with Black Sabbath, Def Leppard and Motley Crue, before being approached by Classic Albums Live to join its cache of musicians who perform the music from classic albums line-by-line and note-by-note.
Walsh will perform Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Weinberg Center in Frederick, Md., when Classic Albums Live presents “Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle, Vol. 1.”
“CCR is one of those bands that you don’t realize how many of those songs you know, that are part of the soundtrack of your life,” Walsh said during a telephone interview from his home in Toronto.
“They unfortunately never had a No. 1 hit, but all their songs were in the charts. So, with the ‘Chronicle’ album, it’s the best of CCR. It’s a double album and it goes in chronological order from their first radio hits when they did a couple of covers like ‘Susie Q,’ and a few other things, and we move right up through their albums, and it’s a great show,” Walsh said.
Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Chronicle Vol. 1” was released in 1976 and includes all of CCR’s hits including “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Down on the Corner,” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”
CCR’s music, Walsh said, turned out to be more familiar than he expected it would be for him.
“When I was asked by the producer of the show, Craig Martin, to sing the CCR ‘Chronicle’ show, and I sat down to sort of revisit it, learn it and listen. I didn’t realize how much of it I actually knew,” he said.
Walsh performs music from other iconic albums as well.
“I’ve been all over the map with Classic Albums Live, but the main ones that I front are Led Zeppelin, (David) Bowie and I’ve recently been doing Queen as well, ‘A Night at the Opera,’” he said. “We’re not about the costumes or putting on some sort of a ruse of a show to take away from the music because everything we do is all about the music. We are, as Craig says, ‘the modern symphony,’ and we’re playing the greats of the last century. So we play real close attention to the details so we can re-create the albums live on stage,” Walsh explained.
One name, many shows
Classic Albums Live has home bases in Toronto and Orlando, Fla.
“It’s not one fixed group that goes out and does all these shows. There’s a roster of musicians and, you know, there’s core musicians for certain groups, such as the Led Zeppelin show,” Walsh said. “Generally it’s myself, the drummer and guitar player who get sent out on the shows, and at any given time, we might play with somebody else, but we’ve all played together in all these different incarnations anyway.”
And when the musicians go out to perform with Classic Albums Live, they will see a wide demographic in their audiences. “Classic rock music, what’s great about it is it spans so many generations. You know, you’ll see the people that come out that saw the original CCR or the original Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, and they’ll be bringing their kids, who also are bringing their kids,” Walsh said.
The music style also keeps the turnout consistent for Classic Albums Live.
“It’s more about people who love and enjoy the music as opposed to the audience being a total crapshoot. It’s not like being an original act where your response is going to be better one night to the next. It’s generally consistent because people know what they’re getting. They know what they’re paying for. We do specific albums, we don’t just do what a cover band would do, just playing a whole bunch of their songs,” Walsh said.
Focused on the music
For those who are seeing a Classic Albums Live show for the first time, don’t expect the band to do much interaction with the audience. Walsh said that formula is by design since Classic Albums Live is all about re-creating the vinyl experience.
“We don’t address the audience. And if we’re hitting a new place, we will talk to them before the show, but what we want to do is create the illusion that we’ve put the needle on the record and you hear song after song after song in the order that you remember it in, without any banter in between,” he said.
In any case, the show is all about the audience.
“We want you to be immersed in the music. It’s not about me. It’s not about the guy beside me on the stage, it’s about the listener being able to hear it the way they’ve always heard it,” Walsh said.
Top photo: Members of Classic Albums Live will perform Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Chronicle Vol. 1” on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Weinberg Center in Frederick, Md. (Submitted photo)