After a seven-year hiatus, Graham Nash returned to his solo career on Earth & Sky. While much of the material may have originated as an on-again/off-again collaboration with David Crosby (guitar/vocals), by the time the LP hit the racks in 1980 there were only traces of Crosby's input scattered throughout. One primary contribution highlighting the pair is the organic and acoustic "Out on the Island," and is likewise one of the best sides of the effort. In support of Nash is an all-star ensemble centering on the infamous "Mighty Jitters": Russ Kunkel (drums/percussion), Tim Drummond (bass), Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar (guitars), David Lindley (guitar/violin/vocals), and Craig Doerge (keyboards).
The opening title cut, "Earth & Sky" has the earmark of a mid-tempo Jackson Browne rocker and boasts a tasty guitar lead from Joe Walsh. "Love Has Come" and the heartfelt "Magical Child" are among Nash's more poignant ballads and both seem to reflect the artist's personal contentment as a family man, which is a decidedly different vibe from his earlier works like "Strangers Room" or "Sleep Song." "Magical Child" also became one of Nash's performance staples in the early- to mid-'80s. Crosby, Stills & Nash similarly adopted the socially and politically topical "Barrel of Pain (Half-Life)" in concert. The tune is a brooding and foreboding rocker that speaks directly to the issue of nuclear waste being unceremoniously dumped right off the coast of the Bay Area near the Farallon Islands. Clocking in at under two minutes, "T.V. Guide" is a minor-chord classic tale of "Big Brother" paranoia, and features orchestration from co-author Joe Vitale.