Gary Burr and friends unleash their talented love for Crosby, Stills and Nash with a Monterey tribute.

Good Company: Gary Burr (front center) has worked with everyone from Faith Hill to Neil Diamond; for the Monterey show he’ll team with a decorated group of session musician friends.

Nationally acclaimed song scribe Gary Burr left Woodstock on Sunday morning and consequently missed the live debut of Crosby, Stills and Nash. It wasn’t until a few months later, after Burr had broken his leg playing soccer, that he would hear CSN for the first time.

“I was in a huge cast and used [CSN’s] debut album to teach myself how to play guitar,” he says.

Burr took what he learned that summer and never looked back: He’s been enshrined in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and has collaborated with everyone from Faith Hill and Neil Diamond to Carole King and Ringo Starr. He recalls lounging with Starr outside his London studio one afternoon and hearing the phone ring nonstop inside.

“[Ringo] leaned over to me and said, ‘It’s Paul,’” Burr begins. “Back in the day, [Ringo] would be sitting out here with John [Lennon] and the phone would be ringing like this and it was always Paul trying to get them to go into the studio.”

Burr’s current side project, Almost Cut My Hair: Crosby Stills Nash & Young Tribute, seems to have much more sentimental meaning for him than rock star stories involving Paul McCartney.

“[CSN] was so instrumental in me figuring out what it was I loved about pop and folk music,” Burr says. “They cemented my love of harmony and really melodic songs; they still sound as great and current as if their first album came out yesterday.”

The band – playing Marina Lounge in Monterey on Friday – features Santa Cruz – and Connecticut-based musicians uncorking songs that span CSN&Y’s entire catalog. Burr says they also cover some Buffalo Springfield and solo material like Neil Young’s “The Loner.”

After the few California dates the tribute band has scheduled, Burr will get back to his newest incarnation, Blue Sky Riders, a three-piece featuring Kenny Loggins and Georgia Middleman.

“We’re writing all the songs together,” Burr says. “It’s like Crosby, Stills and Nash all over again.” 

ALMOST CUT MY HAIR: CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG TRIBUTE happens 8pm Friday, June 10 at Marina Lounge, 30 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey. $15. 521-1884.

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