It looks like 2019 and 2020 are going to be busy years for Neil, to the delight of his fans everywhere.
Even at the tender age of 73, my favorite musician is still getting after it. The famously prolific and meandering rocker is keeping true to his reputation, and I recently heard a few tidbits that have me all fired up and I figured would excite any Neil fan who hadn’t yet heard them. First, his tour with Promise of the Real (featuring two of Willie nelson’s sons) is continuing, and I am fortunate enough to have tickets to the May 20th set at Paramount Theater in Seattle. Having seen him with this same backing band in Boise in 2016 I know how great it will be, and I expect that part of the evening will feature the “Old Man” playing some solo tunes for us as well.
This will be the fourth time I get to witness Neil doing his thing live, and each of the first three times I distinctly remember enjoying it thoroughly and also thinking that would be the last time. Each time, I am proven wrong, as Neil Percival Young will probably never stop. As a testament to his wandering muse and long roster of collaborators, I first saw him in 2006 with David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, and then six years later at the Outside Lands Music Festival with Crazy Horse – one of the finest nights of my life so far.
Speaking of Crazy Horse, they just wrapped up a brand new record that is due later this summer. Yes, after a seven-year break (and the retirement of long-time rhythm guitarist Poncho Sampedro, replaced by familiar face Nils Lofgren) the group is back with new music and a tour this fall. When the group released two records in 2012 and then dissolved again shortly after as Neil chose a different trail to walk for awhile, I figured that might be it. But we get to smell some more Horse, with Billy and Ralph in tow, and I couldn’t be happier.
The news of the new Crazy Horse record comes with a cost: the long-awaited release of the legendary but never heard Homegrown sessions has been pushed out to 2020. Although fans have gotten renditions of several of these songs on various live recordings over the years, we can’t wait to hear the album in its entirety. Unfortunately, we get to wait one more year – but after 45 years of rumors, whats one more year?
Oh, and last but certainly not least – on June 7th we get the latest in the long-running Neil Young Archives series, a live album from 1973 aptly called Tuscaloosa, which includes The Stray Gators as his backing band. Neil singing his civil rights-inspired jams in the heart of Alabama is quite an image, and one that represents his M.O. beautifully. The lead single from the record is a terrific 8-minute take on his autobiographical ballad “Don’t Be Denied”, which he introduces to the crowd as a “song about an aspiring young folk singer”. Good stuff!