It’s weird I’m not talking about great Neil Young very often considering the relevance of this artist in my life.
I’m pretty sure I told you about how I got acquainted with this legend thanks to Pearl Jam and MTV in 1990’s and how lucky I was to see him at Phoenix Festival in Stradford-Upon-Avon in 1996, completely by chance. I’ll tell you about that show soon.
Nevertheless, my love for uncle Neil wasn’t settled for long time due to external obsessions and pressures. The artist finally won my heart, after certain love/hate struggle, in 2007 more or less.
For long time I used to think Zuma was my favorite album of Young’s. Then I changed my mind when I discover After The Gold Rush. And finally On the Beach got me crazy. These 3 albums no doubt would be in my top 5 list of albums recorded by the Canadian.
Nevertheless, only one has to be given the credit of acting as a lifesaver two years and a half ago, when my former life collapsed and I needed strength and support to put myself together and raise from my ashes as The Phoenix. My musical lifesaver was named After the Gold Rush.
This album made me realize about the amazing talent uncle Neil has at the time of writing about the most common human kind emotional status providing them of a beauty very few can. He’s able to express what we all think and want to express sometimes, but we can’t, with a melody and with an overwhelming simplicity.
Uppers and downers, checking the titles of the songs in the tracklist, you can guess what they’re about: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (so true), Don’t Let It Bring You Down, When You Dance I Can Really Love, I Believe In You, Oh Lonesome Me…
After The Gold Rush is not one of his roughest albums, there’s not so much distortion, and acoustic guitars, piano and masterly played harps dominate, however the intensity of songs such as Southern Man, enhanced by powerful backing vocals, in this unique style in which I’d also include earlier Down By The River (1969) and CSNY’s Ohio (June 1970), sort of concerned songs with a social message, works as good as a fully distorted guitar theme.
How many tears I’ve poured while listening Don’t Let It Bring You Down, yet how much strength this song has provided me… I only know. Sometimes when I feel blue I play it, as a sort of therapy, and keep repeating “And you will come along”. I always feel better when I do it.
The end of this rough year made me come back to this classic, and I’m glad I finished 2012 listening to After The Gold Rush, as a reminder of how bad times can be overcome and left behind, to move forward to enjoy better times.