Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Americana

I was thrilled to find this (and their other newest release, Psychedelic Pill) on our recent record shopping excursion to Toronto. I love Neil Young’s music. Every weird turn he takes (and there have been many), I can dig it. I’ve learned that he’s an acquired taste for many, but I must have been an easy sell, ‘cos whether it’s just him and an acoustic guitar, or full-on guitar solo freak-outs with Crazy Horse, I’m right there. Some might ask me why (and it’s OK, I understand he’s not for everybody), and all I can say is that no matter which way he goes next, we know that the music will be done with style, understanding and that sense that this was just the way it was supposed to be. It fits. It feels like home.

Americana takes a bunch of old folk and standard tunes and gives them the treatment only Crazy Horse in full flight could muster. This record is incredible. You know the songs, you know the words, and yet they’re nothing like they were when you sang them as a kid. The track list is here. Check it out, you’ll see what I mean… a lot of those tunes are very familiar indeed. But I’ll bet you never imagined them as full-on rock tracks. Well, lucky for us, these guys did!

This thing stomps and rocks and, yes, sounds like many other Crazy Horse records already passed. But that’s its charm, that’s its strength, that’s why this completely works. Neil Young has decided to salute the tradition from which he rose, and he chose to do it loudly, with nods to old garage rock, and with much distorted guitar. To hell with convention and the expectations of others. At this point, he’s firmly above all that. Americana is unashamedly what it was meant to be. It’s bloody fantastic.

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