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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Fantastic": Producer Daniel Lanois Discusses New Neil Young Album

Earlier this year, producer Daniel Lanois was involved in a serious motorcycle accident.

Lanois has been in the studio working with Neil Young on his new album and calls it "Fantastic" in a recent interview. From ‘I almost died,’ Daniel Lanois says of motorcycle accident - by Nick Patch:
"Hey man, I'm lucky to be alive," Lanois told The Canadian Press on Tuesday in a telephone interview from California, where he's recuperating.

"It could have been spinal. Luckily, I was wearing a full-face helmet. It could have been a head injury. It could have been anything.

"I almost died."

Still, the accident didn't keep from him resuming work on Neil Young's latest album, which Lanois says is 'fantastic.'

'We followed a simple philosophy: it's a solo record,' he said of the latest work from the legendary Toronto-born rocker, which Lanois says will be out in late fall. 'So it does not have a band, but it's rocking. And he's really come in with the songs, they're terrific. I dare say it might be some of his best work in some time. We've really hit the motherlode.

'I've worked with Neil over the years in small doses . . . but we had never done something together from scratch. So let me put it this way: There's an automatic communication system that exists between two Canadian dogs. It's been a lot of fun, and we're very dedicated, and I think I finally met my match.'

Lanois sounds relieved to be back to work. In fact, he resumed work on Young's record almost immediately upon returning home from intensive care.

Never one to waste much time, Lanois certainly isn't going to start now.

'I've always tried to make every minute count,' he said. 'But maybe that thought applies more now than it did before.'

More on new Neil Young songs from the 's "Twisted Road" Concert Tour.

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At 7/20/2010 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Corn said...

Yes! Late fall!

At 7/20/2010 05:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm dying to know if the new album will be limited to the 7 new songs + Hitchhiker he's been playing on the tour - I would think it would be a bit thin with only those, would need to include another 2 songs.... maybe he's got something else up his sleeve???
-Jim in DC

At 7/20/2010 08:34:00 PM, Blogger Sam said...

I don't know, was On the Beach thin? The quality of the songs is all that's really important. Although, I think he said he was writing something at one of the shows on the first leg.

At 7/20/2010 11:16:00 PM, Blogger TomCrac said...

Glad to hear that Daniel is doing well...Canadian dog(s)...wonder why he didn't get back to Canada for their outstanding medical care practices to heal his bones ? :)....Then he could have truely been "Rockin' in the Free ( World".

At 7/20/2010 11:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an automatic communication system

At 7/21/2010 08:00:00 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Don't worry there TomCrac - soon enough all of us Americans will get to experience long waits, rationing of care, and everything else that comes along with socialized medicine. That being said, Daniel did have his accident in LA so that's where he was treated - duh.

Freedom died a long time ago my brother.

At 7/21/2010 10:31:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

They don't have socialized medicine in Canada - they have something called Single Payer Health Care.

If Lanois is a Canadian citizen, then any medical care he undergoes in the U.S. is paid for BY the Canadian Single Payer Health Care System.

You don't have to be IN Canada to reap the benefits of their system, which is much less costly, and much more effective than our U.S. system, or lack thereof. (the whole 'long waits and rationing', something that happens in the U.S. on a consistent basis (not to mention DENIAL of care) was debunked long ago, Jonathan.)

We're not talking about Freedom here, we're talking about people working together to help each other.

At 7/21/2010 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Hmmm. It seems this thread took an interesting turn...

But at least we can all agree that Lanois has a speedy recovery & that the new album is indeed "fantastic".

At 7/21/2010 10:47:00 AM, Blogger Harm said...

@Jonathan 7/21/2010 08:00:00 AM
Still believing that lie huh? You should see Sicko by Michael Moore sometime.

Anyway, even if the new album is limited to the 7 new songs + Hitchhiker, it'll be more than enough. About 40 minutes is long enough for an album with all new material.

At 7/21/2010 02:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, the new songs alone would make a stunning album but I wouldn`t be surprised if Neil has another song or two up his sleeve. Or maybe not. Whatever, it`s going to be amazing. Hope he includes the updated Hitchhiker - time it saw the light of day.

So Daniel has finally `met his match` with Neil, ha ha! I`d imagine Neil would be a challenge for anyone to work with but also so rewarding . Great fun too!

I don`t know much about Daniel`s work but I really like Dylan`s `Oh Mercy` and Time out of Mind` both produce by Daniel in the `80`s. Great sounds.

Yes, he is lucky to be alive……….


At 7/21/2010 04:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoping that Lanois incorporates a minimalistic approach in the production of the new album. I was extremely disappointed with the 'over-produced' Ordinary People on Chrome Dreams 2 after anticipating its release for years. I would have rather had the live version circulating on the web in all of its ragged glory. Kind of like 'This Old House' on American Dream. Talk about over produced, I was looking in the liner notes to see if it were produced by Lawrence Welk!

At 7/21/2010 04:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, yes the new songs + Hitchhiker are brillinat, but to be brutally honest, I could do without Leia... It's one of those songs that are good to hear once.

At 7/21/2010 04:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, I think Neil is setting himself up for some major criticism in that he is recording minus a band. I agree with a 'minimalistic approach', however, sounds to me like its gonna be like a glorified demo. Its one thing for Neil to capitalize on his 'artistic clout' but here is an opportunity to give his paying fans what they really want and thats a return to form like Freedom or Ragged Glory, not some stripped down demo that we have to fill in the blanks with our imaginations and wonder how all of these great songs would have sounded if he would have used the Horse. Come on, Neil ... some times you have to bend just a little. I'm gonna assume that Lanois is in awe just to work with Neil and to suggest anything other then what Neil wants would be the end of their working relationship.

At 7/21/2010 05:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new stuff is weak as has been pointed out many times by those keeping it real. Time for the Horse. Time for Briggs reincarnation. Time for Neil to cut the s_it and get serious. And if not..., hell, start playing with Still again because I love watching Neil beat Stephen up on guitar. Those two are funny great together. They should do a reality show from the ranch.

At 7/21/2010 07:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"once again I think Neil is setting himself up for some major criticism in that he is recording minus a band."

hmmm...I had the impression that this new album, if it is extracts from the Twisted Road tour(solo/acoustic) was just that...solo/acoustic, not unlike Maassey hall approach.
Whether he utilises one full concert or bit parts from the best versions like dreamin man, I think it would be a live album warts and studio dubbing or refining
is not how you would want this album to be.

If the 'horse' are ever gunna back Neil again live or on an album that "muse" hasn't come back yet.

a friend of jonathan

At 7/21/2010 08:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with others about Leia. It's one of those rare songs in which the verse & bridge are more appealing than the chorus. Fool For Your Love is another, with a melodious verse followed by a rather plain chorus.

For the experts out there, didn't Neil once conceive of an all-solo-acoustic album called Acoustica before abandoning the project? He seems to have revived that concept for the new album if Lanois's comments are anything to go by.

Neil being Neil he will no doubt follow his instincts. But if the finished songs sound similar to the live recordings I just don't see them connecting with a wider audience. The new album may turn out to be interesting for diehards like us but the songs aren't unlikely to hold much appeal for non-Neilheads. Lyrically especially, they are sometimes so overly sentimental that it's hard not to chuckle (there's even a fancy word for it: bathos). I know Neil's heart is in the right place but sometimes pouring your heart out and revealing all your emotions so openly can come off as more self-indulgent/naive than expressive/insightful.


At 7/22/2010 12:19:00 AM, Anonymous vertigone said...

@7:35 - Not sure what you're saying. Are you suggesting that it's going to be a live album like Massey or Dreamin' Man, or that it SHOULD be a live album like that? Either way, how could that be the case when it's well chronicled that he's been recording in the studio with Daniel Lanois?

@8:06 - Why would you get the impression that it's going to be acoustic? Lanois said Neil's recording solo, he didn't say acoustic. And, um, this entire tour has been described at length and it's well known that the new songs are not acoustic based. Why would he test drive them on tour one way and then record them differently?

Unless I'm completely off base, I would guess that the new stuff would be recorded along the same lines as they have been performed on the tour - raw and bare.

And as far as the songs not appealing to a wider audience, who cares? When has he ever cared about anything but pleasing himself artistically? That's why we love him.

At 7/22/2010 12:54:00 AM, Blogger Thommo said...

Unfortunately living in Australia, I am not priviledge enough to see Neil like the kind folk up North, but I have managed to source a bootleg of the very first concert on the Twisted Road Tour. I must say if the new album is only those 7 new songs I would be a very happy listener.

It is getting a fair flogging in the CD player and although not all the songs attracted warmth from the outset, they are all ringing the right note for me now. I can't wait to hear a more polished recording of these inspirational and heart felt songs.

At 7/22/2010 05:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ anon 4.37pm - Neil doesn`t owe his fans anything. The day he starts making albums just to please his fans is the day his creativity dies. Let`s just be so glad he`s still moving forward, following his musical instincts and his muse and still exploring new creative possibilities. He`s not going to repeat what he did 20 yrs ago, he`s in a different phase of his career and his life and this is where he`s at now. His creativity is still very much alive and that`s such a joyous thing.

I also think you underestimate Neil`s ability to work with someone else. It`s obviously his choice to call in DL - he wouldn`t have done that if he wasn`t prepared to receive input from him. It`s yet another new turn in the twisted road of his life and we either follow him or get left behind.


At 7/22/2010 07:57:00 AM, Anonymous ShittyHorse said...

Right on Jill, I second that! Neil doesn't make album for you or me, his not out trying to "give the fans what they want" Neil is an artist and art is personal. I feel like a broken record.
I have to agree that this is Neil
s strongest material in awhile, maybe you should try to listen. Peaceful Valley is an awesome song...totally Neil....time travel, haunting, great words and melody. Love and War is fantastic. Both stick in your head big time. I love mt Wallingford Bootleg. (big thanks to whoever recorded that!) Leia is a beautiful little ditty along the lines of Cripple Creek Ferry, or till the morning comes.
I'm glad Neil has is finally making his Solo record. Lets also not forget that WE HAVENT HEARD IT YET! Judge it for yourself when it comes out.
Cant Wait!
Rock on Neil!

At 7/22/2010 09:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, vertigone I left out one word... sorry....
"Is 'IT' not how you would want this album to be?"....

and I totally misconstrued that Daniel's collaborative album with Neil has nothing to do with any recordings from any of the concerts on the Twisted Road tour.

I was comparing an album resulting from the best of the twisted road tour recordings to Massey H. or dreamin man. Sorry guys

So, what Will this collaborative album with Daniel have on it then?

At 7/22/2010 10:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reply to vertigone: Sorry, I meant to say all solo, as in just Neil playing guitar with no accompaniment. Similar concept to Acoustica, except solo electric instead of solo acoustic.

And regarding appealing to a wide audience, I agree Neil can do want he wants but his best albums (ATGR, RNS, Freedom, RG, etc.) have had wide appeal. Surely Neil wants his message to be heard by many people, not just the diehards.


At 7/22/2010 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, one is left to wonder if DL's "collaboration" is nothing more than sitting back, feet on the control table, sipping a Sierra Nevada and cheerleading Neil through a repetition in the studio of what he's been doing on tour... ("get me a cheeseburger, and a new Rolling Stone")
I can't imagine that Neil will deviate much, if at all, from what he's been doing on the very twisted road.
I repeat that I think Leia is ditty best recorded on a solo disk and provided to Neil's grandkids.. it's a nice gift to a child, or children. I think I might tire of it very quickly if it's on the album (which means I can just hit the fast forward of course), and even though I am the biggest fan in the world, there are a few songs like it in the rich canon that fall into the same category (and no, Cripple Creek Ferry isn't one of them, that song has a hook, a backing band, and isn't in the "ditty" category). that said, the other new songs are worthy of an album, and a fine album indeed.

At 7/22/2010 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous zuma said...

no matter what w'll all buy the new neil young cd.and love it. in are owen way

At 7/22/2010 08:49:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

So glad we all got away from that health care debate. eh? Neil is the man. If Daniel Lanois is able to bring forth the sonic atmosphere and mood that he is known for with Neil's new songs, then it will be a masterpiece. I'd like to think that David Briggs would have respected Daniel big time.

By the way - Michael Moore is a misguided fool - like most modern day liberals. Well intentioned, but WAY off the mark from reality. Sorry guys. Communism and socialism never work. They only make everyone miserable. Peace.

At 7/27/2010 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

Got to hang with Neil on his bus when he was in Portland a couple of weeks ago. He said the great thing about working with Daniel is he just has to come in with the material and play, Daniel does the rest. Daniel also has a wealth of old gear and some great Neumann mics that are used on the project. Great mellow man, Mr. Young.


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