Neil Young – A Letter Home
Let me first say a huge thank you to my lovely wife and our gorgeous children for this wonderful Father’s Day gift. Cheers!
Also, Happy Canada Day, everyone!
I am very excited about this album. First, I am a Neil Young fan. Second, the concept of it is very, very cool. You probably all know the story anyway, but that link’ll provide more, if you need it. Also, I stated in my Lazaretto review a few days ago that it was a Jack White sort of Father’s Day, and it truly was!
A Letter Home Intro is touching, just stilted enough to be real. If it’s scripted, it’s good acting.
Musically, this whole album is beautiful. There’s something about the simple guitar and vocal (and occasional harmonica, piano or whistling) arrangements, paired with the machine in which these songs were recorded, that makes it haunting and aching and very much like listening to old 78s. Which was the intended effect, of course. It’s brilliant, like a time capsule.
I’ll just list the songs (and their original artists) to give you a sense of how huge this whole thing is. Any one of these songs stands alone, strong and evocative. Taken together… you’d better be sitting down.
Changes (Phil Ochs)
Girl From The North Country (Bob Dylan)
Needle Of Death (Bert Jansch)
Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
Crazy (Willie Nelson)
Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin) [w. extra shout-out to Neil’s mom]
On The Road Again (Willie Nelson)*
If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot)
Since I Met You Baby (Ivory Joe Hunter)
My Hometown (Bruce Springsteen)
I Wonder If I Care As Much (The Everly Brothers)*
Honestly, my only complaint about this record is that it’s too damn short. I could listen to him play like this for hours.
Thank you, Neil and Jack. This is a superb record. Another contender for Aaron’s Best of 2014 already, (and it’s only June). I simply cannot recommend it enough. Seriously. Go buy this. It’s gorgeous.
* Jack White appears on vocals and piano.