An email over the weekend from Mark Golley, who's gone over to the States to catch a few dates on the solo tour Neil Young's doing with Bert Jansch in support. It's really interesting stuff about Young's latest capricious and intriguing career swerve - "performance and spook in equal measure" - so I figured that, with Mark's permission, I'd reprint it here.
An email over the weekend from Mark Golley, who’s gone over to the States to catch a few dates on the solo tour Neil Young‘s doing with Bert Jansch in support. It’s really interesting stuff about Young’s latest capricious and intriguing career swerve – “performance and spook in equal measure” – so I figured that, with Mark’s permission, I’d reprint it here.
“I came over to the US on Sunday,” writes Mark, “and show one was Tuesday in Albany, NY.
“A genuinely remarkable show. Maybe not the best Neil show I’ve seen (I’m in the mid-50s there), but easily the most intense, darkest and weirdest.Seven new songs from his new “Twisted Road” project; an 18-song set(identical but tighter – more subtle – on night two in Buffalo).
“Despite being solo, only three songs were done on one of his acoustic Martins. There’s one each for the tack piano, the pump organ and the grand piano. Everything else is on Old Black or the Gretsch White Falcon.
“Extraordinary deconstructions of “Down By The River”, “Cinnamon Girl” and “Cortez The Killer”. “Ohio” is towering, but it’s “Hitchhiker” (rare as hen’s teeth and resurrected here in an immense new form), hammered out on the Gibson, that shines like a beacon, the pivotal song which everything else hangs around.
“The new songs are tough to love at first, black to the core (the death of LA Johnson looming large, understandably so) but there are chinks of light. There’s some Nash -like whimsy on “Leia”, a song which was thought to be about his granddaughter (on night three Neil seemed to suggest otherwise). But the Lanois influence is washed over some new songs with the heaviest of brush strokes.
“(I’m told that, as it stands, the new album will be a solo electric record…I’m guessing that the material I know was recorded at the end of last year and early this year has been put on the back burner. These new songs are really new…)
“Black & white, light & dark, life & death… He’s counting down to the end in a stark, desperately revealing way.Almost surreal,the shows are heavy, draining, dense, intense and challenging. Hhe’s reinventing his own set of wheels. Again…
“Like no shows I’ve ever seen from Neil….”
Thanks so much for this, Mark. Any more reports from those of you who’ve seen the shows will be hugely appreciated.