Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Album Review : Prairie Wind by Neil Young

A near death experience led Neil Young, one of classic rock's most revered & lauded heroes to create a tribute to his childhood - his roots & his beginnings in the Canadian Prairies. As he was preparing to record the song "The Painter" in Nashville, Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. He recorded eight of the songs before surgery for the aneurysm, and two afterward as he recovered. The 10 songs that make up the album, one of his best, gives the listener the feeling of nostaglia, a longing for home and the feeling a lonely revaller gets at the end of the day. That's what listening to the album made me feel; although it must be said that it's not all sad songs with a meloncholic strain. The song does bost rocking (mainly acoustic) songs that tell you that good ole Neil has recived from his medical mishap and is ready to influence a whole new set of rockers.

I have always belived that armed with an acoustic guitar & a harmonica, Neil Young is unsurpassable. No one in the rock world, past or present, can touch him in songwriting and pure emotion. The songs on his new album touch on home, death, life etc. On 'He Was The King', Young pays tribute to Elvis Priesley. Prairie Wind is best when Young indulges personal reminiscences, as on "Far From Home", which starts with a fond memory: "When I was a growing boy rockin' on my daddy's knee/ Daddy took an old guitar and sang 'Bury me on the lone prairie.'" Young's dad appears again on the title track, and a less earthly father appears on "When God Made Me". "This Old Guitar" reminisces over his long career, and on the album opener, "The Painter", he nods to old friends who are either long gone or still hanging around for another album. Several of the musicians on Prairie Wind have played with Young many times before, including keyboard player Spooner Oldham, guitarist Ben Keith, bassist Rick Rosas, and Emmylou Harris. This is a masterpiece to be treasured for years to come, I will be playing "Prairie Wind" when I am 40 or 50.

Song for the day - "Far From Home" - NEIL YOUNG