Neil Young has been one of music’s biggest stars for close to sixty years. From the Buffalo Springfield to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to a solo career that encompassed more than forty studio albums, Young has been a part of the scene that spans at least four generations of fans. With this fame comes a mass fortune. And yet through all of this heady stuff, Neil Young is basically a Canadian farm boy at heart.
Growing up in a small rural town in Ontario, Young has had a fascination with barns since his youth. In a story told many times, most recently in a Rolling Stone magazine interview and feature, in 1971, Young took Graham Nash on a boat ride on his property so he could play Nash tracks from his upcoming album, “Harvest.” Speakers were set up with the left one at the house and the right one at the barn. When asked how was the sound, Young yelled out, “More barn.”
So when Young decided to record his newest album, with the band Crazy Horse, in the studio in his barn, it made sense to give it the title “Barn.” The only surprise about the title is that it’s taken decades for Young to use it.
When Young and Crazy Horse get together for a record, and this is number fourteen for them, you know what you’re going to get. They’ve been doing grunge/garage rock since their first recording “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”, in 1969.
Here’s the format: Lots of hard-rocking guitars, mostly power chords and a few softer acoustic love songs mixed in that are dedicated to the woman currently in Young’s life. It’s a format that the fans of Young and Crazy Horse are comfortable with and love.
And that’s what you’re going to get with Barn, but with some changes. The loud power chords are still there, but they’re somewhat toned down. That’s because there’s been a change in Crazy Horse personnel. Frank “Pancho” Sampedro has retired. Legendary musician Nils Lofgren is back playing guitar and other instruments for this album. While Sampedro was known for trading heavy licks with Young, Lofgren has a more subtle style. That’s what makes “Barn” a bit different than the other Young/Crazy Horse albums.
Yeah, you’ll still get those romance tunes, this time about his life and love for his current wife, Daryl Hannah. If you want some rock and roll, check out “Canerican”, which is about Young deciding to become a United State citizen so he could vote in the 2020 election.
“Barn” isn’t much different than what we’ve heard from this grouping and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with it, at all. Hey Neil….”more barn!”
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