Ron Sexsmith and Neil Young
From www.vancouver2010.com on upcoming Neil Young Tribute at Vancouver Winter Olympics, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith comments on Neil Young's influence:
“As a kid, you would always hear Neil Young on the radio, back when radio actually played good music,” says Sexsmith. “When I first started playing the bars in Ontario, when I was 17, my brother Don said I would have to learn some Neil Young. You could play his songs all night and everyone would be happy.”
“I’ve always loved [Young]. He’s one of those artists who has been so prolific that it’s hard to keep up with everything he’s doing,” he says. “You walk down any street in Canada, and if there’s a busker he’s probably playing a Neil Young song.”
“I really admire Neil, or [Gordon] Lightfoot, or Joni [Mitchell], or Leonard [Cohen]. They’re the four horsemen of Canadian songwriters, and they loom pretty large,” he says. “I’ve made a lot of records, but I’ve always been under the radar. I’ve never made one of those songs that works its way into the culture, and everyone knows it. That’s something that Neil’s done over and over.”
“When Neil and those guys were doing it, it was a different time. He never cared about any of that stuff, and he wasn’t in it for fame. He wasn’t out for perfection, either,” he adds. “We’re living in a strange time. People like Neil and Willie Nelson, they’re the real deal. I know time only moves in one direction, and it’s hard to say what the next thing is.
But it probably won’t be that.”
From Vancouver Sun: Cultural Olympiad: Musicians gather in Vancouver to pay homage to Neil Young by Graeme McRanor:
“I used to play [his] songs when I was starting out, before I was writing my own songs,” he says. “I used to play the bars in my hometown [St. Catharines, Ont.]. And you can play Neil Young songs all night and no one will complain. He’s just got so many. I don’t know how many records he’s put out, probably around 50 by now. And he’s still very relevant.
“It’s very inspiring.”
“Neil, obviously … his catalogue looms large in rock-and-roll history,” he says. “I’ve been plugging away for years and I don’t have any songs that resonate that way. There was a time when you could be someone like Neil Young and be really uncompromising and yet still kind of break through and have songs on the radio.”
More on Neil Young's musical influences and inspirations.