Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Barn

Regular price $ 28.99
One of the great Neil Young stories concerns a visit to Young's ranch by Graham Nash. Young ushered his friend into a rowboat, as he wanted to listen to his new album Harvest while lazing about on the lake. As it roared out of twin speakers emanating from the house and barn, producer Elliot Mazer asked Young how the playback sounded, Young hollered back "More Barn!" It's hard not to think of this tale when faced with Barn, the second album Young has made with Crazy Horse after the retirement of guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro. Nils Lofgren, the guitarist who Sampedro essentially replaced back in 1975, returned to the fold on Colorado, the 2019 album which feels like a cousin to Barn. Like Colorado, Barn is heavily informed by Young's new surroundings in the Rocky Mountains, a place where he restored an old barn with his wife Daryl Hannah. Naturally, the barn is also where Crazy Horse recorded Barn -- a process documented by Hannah on an accompanying feature-length documentary -- and the building also seems to be part of the record itself, providing a homespun warmth and wide open spaces. The setting gives Crazy Horse a lot of room to roam, enough to make it clear that this version of the Horse isn't as heavy-footed as the one with Poncho. Lofgren can crank up his amp but his gift is empathetic support. He nimbly follows Young's lead on both the rockers and ballads, decorating the open-ended ramble "Welcome Back" with unexpected flourishes. As for Neil, he's living in the moment, pondering his civic duties as a new American citizen (he coins the term "Canerican"), worries about the state of the world, wonders what future generations will think of the wreckage today's population leave behind, yet never forgets to hold onto love. Alternately cutting and corny, Young's songwriting feels impassioned to the point of diffusion: the songs aren’t so much crafted as delivered. Happily, the loose performances more than suit these ragged compositions, turning Barn into a snapshot of this moment in time: a bunch of old friends in isolation, finding solace and comfort in the noise they can still make.

1 Song of the Seasons 6:04
2 Heading West 3:22
3 Change Ain't Never Gonna 2:53
4 Canerican 3:12
5 Shape of You 2:56
6 They Might Be Lost 4:32
7 Human Race 4:14
8 Tumblin' Thru the Years 3:20
9 Welcome Back 8:28
10 Don't Forget Love 3:49