Neil Young – A Letter Home
Neil Young adds another album to his immense catalogue, but this time representing his true self via sound quality on A Letter Home. This album was recorded with the help of Jack White in his studio in Nashville through a Voice-O-Graph to give it a 1940s rugged vinyl sound with crackling. It is in part to promote Young’s stance against how music is produced sound wise today.
The album features covers written by a dozen songwriters including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, and others, and only has Neil on guitar, vocals and harmonica. The recording and sound quality captures Young in his notorious ragged glory, making these songs sound like demos that were single tracked during the 1940s mid-west folk scene. The sound is so raw that you can hear Neil slip up on some guitar riffs, only adding to the experience of listening to something pre-21st century. You can hear these slip ups on the tune Needle of Death, which is an emotional ballad turned love letter to a junkie friend.
Neil covers On The Road Again, by Willie Nelson, which sounds like a true folk ballad courtesy of the Voice-O-Graph. He also covers Reason To Believe by Tim Hardin, in which Neil speaks to what is supposedly his mother about how he rediscovered all of these songs that he used to love, and is now recording them one by one. The last track titled A Letter Home Intro is Neil talking to his mother again, insinuating vaguely that she is in heaven by saying “he loves her“, “talk to daddy“ and that “he will see them real soon”. Heart felt, it was a pleasant way to end the album.
At 68 years old, Neil sounds as young and soulful as he always has. How he is able to still compose, write and perform is beyond comprehension. At the same time he continues to push the boundaries while retaining his artistic integrity. We are so fortunate to still have Neil around today, writing and covering music that we all can’t help but enjoy.
A Letter Home was released on 19th April 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Neil Young’s website here.
Watch the video for Needle of Death here: