Blast From The Past: Neil Young

How can you be constantly amazed by an artist that you almost take for granted? Neil Young has done that for me time and time again over the years, reinventing himself and blazing trails, circling back and walking down the same roads more like a new person than a guy taking a victory lap. Hit or miss, he continues to do this today.

About ten years ago he quietly slipped another gem into his crown with Silver and Gold. Amazingly, the album was pretty cohesive considering that the song collection was a combination of CSNY rejects, solo efforts and reinventions of road songs known by different names. Here’s what I wrote at the time…

The greatest chameleon of the past 30 years started to compose his first true solo record (as in DIY), but as is his way, the course changed a couple of times. And when he decided to flesh the material out with other musicians, he grabbed stellar sidemen including Spooner Oldham, “Duck” Dunn and Jim Keltner, along with longtime associate Ben Keith (who co-produced the record). The result is a relaxed, casual journey through some heartfelt and pensive songs that find Young in both a thankful and inquisitive mood. Comparisons will most certainly be made with Harvest and Harvest Moon because of the acoustic tone, but don’t play the trilogy card right away. This Neil Young is older, wiser, more reflective and less judgmental.

At 10 tracks and 40 minutes, it’s no coincidence that Silver And Gold plays like an album with two sides. Emotional differences? Now versus then? The opening number, “Good To See You,” is as simple and direct as it sounds. “Daddy Went Walkin” deals with broken families from the perspective of a hopeful child, and in “Buffalo Springfield Again,” Neil looks back at a different kind of broken family, and forward to enjoying the time after wounds have healed. In “The Great Divide,” he’s not fitting in among the broken plans and roads of uncertainty, and the arrow of blame sometimes points straight back…

Read the rest of this review at PopMatters

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