I first reported in mid-January of this year that Neil Young’s next album would consist of all covers and that he was “collaborating” with Jack White.
I speculated that songs on the album would likely include Phil Ochs’ “Changes,” Bert Jansch’s “Needle of Death,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain,” Ivory Joe Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby” and Tim Hardin’s “Reason To Believe.”
Today the album, A Letter Home, was released with none of the usual pre-release hoopla, and it includes all of those songs, plus Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown,” a second song by Gordon Lightfoot, “If You Could Only Read My Mind,” plus songs by the Everly Brothers and Willie Nelson.
Jack White not only recorded the album on his 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl record recording booth at Third Man Records in Nashville, but he’s released the album on Third Man Records, is credited along with Young as the album’s co-producer (actually it says on the back cover “Reproduced by Jack White and Neil Young) and plays on two tracks.
“[It’s] a phone booth,” Young told Spin. “It’s all acoustic with a harmonica inside a closed space, with one mic to vinyl … It’s a funky old machine, it sounds like Jimmy Rogers or something.”
For Record Store Day tomorrow, the album will be available on vinyl in limited quantities at select record stores around the country.
01 “Changes” (Phil Ochs)
02 “Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan)
03 “Needle of Death” (Bert Jansch)
04 “Early Morning Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot)
05 “Reason To Believe” (Tim Hardin)
06 “On The Road Again” (Willie Nelson)
07 “If You Could Only Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot)
08 “Since I Met You Baby” (Ivory Joe Hunter)
09 “My Hometown” (Bruce Springsteen)
10 “I Wonder If I Care As Much” (Everly Brothers)
Here are live performances of some of the songs.
“Reason To Believe” at Farm Aid 2013:
“Changes” at Carnegie Hall 2014:
“Early Morning Rain” at Farm Aid 2013:
“Since I Met You Baby” at Farm Aid 2013:
“Needle of Death” at Carnegie Hall 2014:
“If You Could Read My Mind” at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, 2014:
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-
Neil Young’s next album, A Letter Home, has been pushed back to a ‘likely’ spring release, Young told Billboard Originally, back in January, Young told Rolling Stone the album would be out in March.
As I first reported, the album is a collaboration between Young and Jack White. It was recorded at White’s Third Man studio in Nashville, is being released on Third Man Records and features Jack White on two tracks.
“It’s not ready for prime time yet. It’s not really a release yet, but it’s a very unique record,” Young said. “It’s like a time capsule. It doesn’t sound like anything you’ve heard that was made recently. And some great songs, some beautiful music.”
“They’re songs that I love, songs that changed my life, songs that made it so that I understood what someone else was saying to me, songs by greater writers.”
Although Young has not revealed which songs will be on the album, I have speculated that it will include many of the covers Young performed at Farm Aid last year and at his recent acoustic shows in New York and Canada such as Bert Jansch’s “Needle of Death,” Phil Ochs “Changes,” Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain,” Ivory Joe Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby” and Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe.”
Young also told Billboard that his forthcoming memoir will be called “Special Deluxe.”
He told Billboard it’s a book that focuses on his love of cars.
“So it’s a history through automobiles, and it’s a history of automobiles and it’s a history of the environmental impact of automobiles. And it’s a projection into the future of automobiles. It has its own agenda that develops over the book.
Young also said he’s working on new music, and would like to do an album with a full orchestra, live, recorded mono 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.”