Discipline and Restraint: The Genius of Neil Young
Sarah McLachlan Foundation Concert, Vancouver 9/12/09
Photo by Darryl Dyck
The Comment of the Moment is from Elton John's "Unforgettable Moments" with Neil Young by BIGCHIEF:
The genius of Neil Young is discipline and restraint.
With Neil, the whole package beginning with his songwriting, his vocals, and whatever instrument he chooses to express himself, is 'hardwired' directly to his soul. Although his vocal technique would no doubt make a professional trainers eye twitch, any attempt to polish it would surely be at the expense of that raw, honest, emotion-drenched expression of feelings that evokes similar emotions from the listener with an intensity far greater than most singers who merely recite lyrics.
With Rap Music as a possible exception, the success of a song isn't measured by how many words you can fit into a given verse. The same can be said as far as how many notes can one fit into a guitar solo. By Neil's own admission, he never claimed to be one who blistered the fretboard of a guitar. If anything, he's more likely to be known more for his 'one note solo' as heard in the classic stomper 'Cinnamon Girl'.
Once again, his ability to exercise restraint further proved his successful formula that 'less is more'. This same successful formula is not unique to his vocals and guitar playing but extends to his piano playing abilities as well as in his signature harmonica playing style. On whatever instrument he may choose to accompany a particular song, The method that is typical in the structure of the majority of Neil's records is restraint. Whatever it takes to compliment the song. No 'one' instrument should overwhelm, dominate, or become the focal point of the song.
Thanks, as always, BIGCHIEF!
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