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Michael Nesmith to launch first U.S. solo tour in 21 years

February 26, 2013|By Randy Lewis
  • Michael Nesmith, shown during dress rehearsal last fall for the Monkees reunion tour, is embarking on his first major U.S. solo tour since 1992.
Michael Nesmith, shown during dress rehearsal last fall for the Monkees… ( Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

On the heels of last fall's reunion tour with other surviving members of the Monkees, Michael Nesmith will embark on his first major U.S. solo tour in more than two decades.

The singer, songwriter and guitarist will open the run of shows March 21 in Franklin, Tenn., just outside Nashville, followed by a March 24 stop at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, the closest he’ll come to Los Angeles proper.

The tour will continue with performances March 26 in Santa Cruz and March 27 in San Francisco before more dates in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota and a half-dozen other states before wrapping up with final stops April 16 in New York and April 17 in Washington, D.C. The full tour itinerary is available here.

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“The songs I’ll play are a touch chronological and a touch thematic,” the 70-year-old Texas-born musician, long based in Northern California, said in a statement. “I picked my favorites to play, the ones I have come to love over the years, and the ones that are most requested by fans of my solo work.”

He’ll be backed on the tour by a four-piece band. Nesmith recently noted on his Facebook page, “As many of you know there is nothing like playing music live. Even when it is wrong it is right, and when it is right it is celestial. I've got the songs built in a cinema setting, like they live in my mind, and so the arrangements are tight. Playing in front of this band is one of the best experiences I have had musically.”

The new tour, given the heavy use of songs he wrote for the Monkees during that recent tour following Davy Jones' death last year, will focus almost exclusively on his solo material. The one  exception will be “Papa Gene’s Blues,” which appeared on the Monkees’ 1966 debut album.

“I hope Monkees fans are not disappointed,” Nesmith said, “but my solo recorded music is extensive and the songs that were part of the Monkees era comprise only a tiny part of it.”

The U.S. tour developed out of several shows he played in Europe last year before the Monkees’ tour began.

After leaving the Monkees in 1970, Nesmith recorded a string of critically acclaimed solo albums that enhanced and expanded his reputation established in the Monkees as one of the pioneers of country rock. He charted minor solo hits including “Joanne,” “Silver Moon” and “Nevada Fighter.”

He also broke ground on doing music videos in the late 1970s, creating something of a template for MTV with a syndicated show, “Pop Clips.” He  was awarded the first video Grammy Award in 1982 for his long-form video “Elephant Parts.”

He’s also wrote the 1998 novel “The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora” and a subsequent e-book, “The America Gene,” as well as producing  several movies including “Timerider,” “Repo Man” and “Tapeheads.”

Here’s a  live performance of his song “Thanx For the Ride” shot last fall, incorporating recorded steel guitar parts from his longtime collaborator, O.J. “Red” Rhodes, who died in 1995:

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

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