Tuesday, April 21, 2009
FORK IN THE ROAD
Love the cover photo. Looks like he's trying to signal you to call the police without tipping off the people who are holding him at gunpoint.
Could be that he's channeling this guy.
Regardless of the wrapper, Neil seems to be on track with what he's done for many years: Making music spontaneously, delving into characters and causes quite earnestly and then doing a 180 degree turn down the next path that inspires him to write. Master of the "musical snapshot", he leads the assembled musicians through a series of short blasts celebrating his long love affair with automobiles.
In this case, his revamped 1959 Lincoln Continental, designed to run on an alternative electric power source (the Lincvolt project) serves as the impetus for the bulk of material.
Some songs are lyrically austere ("Cough Up the Bucks") though despite throwing a few wild punches, he connects more than he misses. "Fork in the Road" displays the wry humor that lurks beneath so many of his songs and his guitar (trusty "Old Black") is up front, distorted and matches the rant.
Neil Young - Fork In The Road
Not wanting to jump in without a serious evaluation, I have listened to this quite a bit in the past week. Anyone who is disappointed in what they're hearing obviously hasn't taken in many Neil Young albums. He's been doing this for a long time and his audience has often been slow to keep up. Interested in capturing things on the fly, the finished product is sometimes rough hewn but that doesn't mean it has any less merit than some sterile, overblown production that took five years to squeeze out and puts you to sleep.
Really decent sketches here and though it has a couple of repetitive tunes, it's pretty enjoyable overall. Longtime collaborator Ben Keith provides his usual stellar work on pedal steel ("Light a Candle" is excellent), guitar and keyboards, while the rest of the crew has been with him on and off for years. Young' has earned his place among the top writers to emerge from the sixties who still have something to offer. Plus, it's always great to hear a familiar voice raised at a time when we're being bombarded with so much phony noise masquerading as music.