Keven's Music Review: NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE – Americana
Published: June 20, 2012 - 8:47am
The 34th studio album from rock pioneer Neil Young and longtime collaborators Crazy Horse is one hell of a tribute to folk music. When I heard that Young was doing covers of oldschool folk hymns like 'Clementine', 'This Land is Your Land' and 'Jesus' Chariot', I assumed the worst.
I'm happy to say that 'Americana' is a great album comprised of these older than dirt songs that you'd expect children to be singing in some school play. Young and Crazy Horse manage to revive every track and embrace the darker aspects of the material, turning out a grim Western music epic. Young mentioned prior to the release that he made a conscious effort to bring these old songs back and represent them the way they were intended for a new generation as opposed to the way most people see them now.
The arrangements are fresh considering every song on 'Americana' has been played to death the past 100 years, I think that's a massive accomplishment. Crazy Horse and Young play so damn well together and their collaboration on this record was essential to its success in my opinion. It could just be that Young sounds so weathered and wise, like some sort of Canadian rock wizard hermit, but the way he sings a song like 'Jesus' Chariot' is so gripping you forget you've heard it a million times before.
I've never been a huge Neil Young fan myself, but I've appreciated his hits. So I wouldn't consider myself in any way to be playing fan service to a legend. I have a penchant for folk music so that's probably where my admiration stems from, but I'm still shocked at how entertained I was by this record. It's not a game changer, but it's certainly a masterful statement from Young and Crazy Horse in regards to how talented of songwriters they are when they pay such tribute to these classics while still putting their own spin on the material.
As an experiment I'd like to get Neil Young to just sing old classic pieces of literature, or nursery rhymes. I'm pretty sure he could pull off an album of Humpy Dumpty or Jack and Jill without sounding like he escaped a hospital auxiliary. Whereas Bob Dillon sounds like he's just 'in pain' now when he struggles to make noise on stage, Neil Young can still sing sorrow and capture our ears whenever he comes on the stereo. 'Americana' made me want to eat some taters, ride a horse and skips rocks on a pond. These are good things.
1. "Oh Susannah"
3. "Tom Dula"
4. "Gallows Pole"
5. "Get a Job"
6. "Travel On"
7. "High Flyin' Bird"
8. "Jesus' Chariot (She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain)"
9. "This Land Is Your Land"
10. "Wayfarin’ Stranger"
11. "God Save the Queen"