First off, we humbly apologize to all of our loyal readers for the lack of recent updates, and want to thank those of you who have stuck it out with us anyway during our self-imposed summer sabbatical.
But at least part of the reason for the inactivity here is that, up until recently anyway, there just hasn’t been that much to report on coming out of the Neil Young camp.
With Crazy Horse performing basically the same exact setlists – with only the rare and occasional minor twist here and there – across Europe most of this summer, any daily tour reports seemed pretty pointless and redundant to us. However, much has obviously changed in just the past two weeks.
We were also somewhat reluctant to report the sad, surprising news about the impending Neil & Pegi Young divorce.
We like to think of the Neil Young FAQ blog as a trusted, reliable go-to news source for the fans. But we also aspire to be the sort of place that Rusties can find out all the latest about the music, and prefer to leave the sordid details about Neil Young’s personal life to the celebrity gossip sheets like TMZ and the like.
That said, we were obviously saddened, and to be perfectly honest, more than a little shocked to hear that what we had always thought of as one of the more solid, and certainly longer lasting marriages in the entertainment world was, to quote a rather obvious lyric here, “headed for the big divorce, California style.”
There have been very few details about this reported in the press, and truthfully speaking, we’d probably rather not know anyway. One has to assume though that both Neil & Pegi’s ongoing involvement in the lives of their special needs children and in related projects like the Bridge School, would indicate they would be maintaining an amicable, professional relationship at the very least.
Either way, we wish them both the best.
In other news, we were much more excited to hear the reports about a new Neil Young album said to be coming as soon as this November. Based on what we know so far about Storytone though, that excitement comes with an equal measure of healthy concern about what may actually be headed our way with this album.
What we know for sure is that anyone expecting what most fans would traditionally call either “Quiet Neil” or “Loud Neil,” could be in for some major disappointment. In fact, based on the reports currently making the rounds out there on the interwebs, Storytone sounds far more likely to be something like “Orchestral Neil.” Early word is that Neil Young has been recording the album with German-born composer and arranger Chris Walden and producer Niko Bolas.
Young has been talking about an orchestral project for awhile now, recently telling Billboard magazine that “I’d like to make a record with a full-blown orchestra, live — a mono recording with one mic. I want to do something like that where we really record what happened, with one point of view and the musicians moved closer and farther away, the way it was done in the past. To me that’s a challenge and it’s a sound that’s unbelievable, and you can’t get it any other way. So I’m into doing that.”
If you think that this sounds suspiciously like a cross between the recent lo-fi approach of this year’s A Letter Home with Jack White, and another of Young’s genre experiments – the big band blues of This Note’s For You – you wouldn’t be alone.
But you might also be forgiven for thinking that Neil may be veering precariously close to repeating his notorious eighties string of unpredictably wild and often wacky releases. In fact, of Neil Young’s last three albums – and four now, if we are counting Storytone – only one, 2012’s Psychedelic Pill with Crazy Horse, has contained the sort of music that most fans might normally expect to find on a Neil Young record.
The involvement of Niko Bolas likewise throws an “interesting” curve into the mix. Bolas has been involved in both your classic Neil Young records like Freedom, and considerably less spectacular sounding efforts like Landing On Water.
So the good news is that Storytone sounds like it will be “interesting” (there’s that word again). While it is obviously far too early to presume judgment on a record no one has even heard yet, and we welcome any new report of Neil Young once again further stretching his artistic muse, we just hope this falls more toward the Greendale side of “inneresting,” than towards something like the Shocking Pinks.
We’ll hold our tongues for now, and see what happens come November.