I have loved Neil Young from the first moment I heard him sing, and yes, he's a little whiny, and his range has compressed over the years--but the emotion has deepened and the guitar and piano still evoke the acoustic magic of the late sixties and the early seventies. Neil's latest effort is called A Letter Home -- and I just today received my VINYL record in the mail -- and I just this minute finished listening to both sides on our turntable in the living room.
A couple of interesting things about this album is not only how it was recorded but also the fact that none of the songs were written by Neil--they are the songs that influenced him, the songs he holds dear in his musical heart--as he says it: "an unheard collection of rediscovered songs
from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology [which] captures
and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone
forever." The album was recorded live inside of an old-time recording booth--(like the photo booths that would deliver that strip of four black & white photos of you and your best friend making goofy faces, remember that?)--only this allowed you to record your voice and send it to someone. Well, in this case, Neil sat in the booth and played his guitar and sang--and the result is phenomenal--like hearing a folksinger's recording from the 1930's--the "old-timey" music that speaks to the heart of what this country once was.
Here's a clip from Three Man Records in Nashville, who produced the album:
The songs are by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson, Tim Hardin, and others. To hear them in Neil's old and scratchy voice, with just his guitar (or a piano pulled up to the 'door' of the recording booth, and played by Jack White) is to re-experience the poignant, heart-breaking lyrics all over again with songs like, "If you could read my mind, love" and "My Hometown" and "Girl from the North Country."
There's a CD available, of course, but if you can, get the vinyl--it's a step back to a slower, more graceful time (imho), and you'll thank yourself for the gift.