Lock up your daughters and stash your heirlooms because another Neil Young and Crazy Horse album is on the loose. The aptly titled barn, recorded in a restored log barn from the 19th century. There is a balance between light and heavy, raw in some places and refined in others. Bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina hold the foundation for Young and Nils Lofgren to tangle their guitars.
NYCH albums are typically a wild mess, a dirty mix of hits and misses, where the band’s approach is reminiscent of target practice. Everyone is looking for the next one Zuma or Rust never sleeps, and 2012 Psychedelic pill, with its strange, lengthy detours, almost everyone was finished. So how does it work barn stack up? Let’s take a closer look.
The fact that Lofgren has been back on the line-up since Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro left the Crazy Horse has allowed the unit to expand its arsenal in specific areas. It was evident in 2019 Colorado, and it’s pretty obvious once the needle falls on the opening track, “Song Of The Seasons”. Lofgren plays a prominent role on the accordion, leading and softening Young’s trembling voice, wandering harmonica, and clanking rhythms to create a sweeter, almost angelic tome. With “Heading West” they go deeper, in which Young grinds out notes while Lofgren’s piano fills the turnarounds.
barn Young and the Horse has run in many different directions. On “Camerican” the singer declares his dual citizenship at a crisp, driving pace. “Shape Of You” and “Tumblin ‘Thru The Years” bounce around carefree, while “They Must Be Lost” and “Welcome Back” meander a little and, depending on the mood of the day, buck in filler or the horse. “Human Race”, in its classic form, hits the pedals, its pointed message is immortalized by Young and the Horse during the breaks. It definitely deserves a spot on a future NYCH setlist.
Everything ends on a wistful note with “Don’t Forget Love”. Young reminds us that despite adversity, struggle, and hopelessness, there is always a bright light. The world needs that more than ever. Leave something barn Door open to interpretation, Young and the horse tend to move on until the dust has cleared and we are all at peace with one another. And then they move on.
~ Shawn Perry