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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Neil Young, others Go To Nashville to Honor Willie Nelson's 80th Birthday

Neil Young & Willie Nelson, 2005
Photo via

Rolling Stone Mobile - News - Music: Willie Nelson Rings in 80th Birthday With Neil Young, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow By Adam Gold:
Willie Nelson turns 80 next week, but the festivities got underway last Thursday night in Nashville, where a star-studded cast of duet partners featuring Neil Young**, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Jamey Johnson, Ashley Monroe and Leon Russell paid tribute to the outlaw country icon at an intimate birthday soiree. The celebration – held at Jack White**'s Third Man Records – doubled as a taping for an upcoming CMT Crossroads episode.

Of all the guests, Young was the only one who played his own songs (not that anybody complained), as well as the only guest who joined Nelson to perform as an unaccompanied duo. Although Young's appearance wasn't a surprise to the 100 or so attendees who packed the makeshift TV studio in Third Man's warehouse/office space (and, unfortunately, not the adjoining record store/compound's cozier live music venue, the Blue Room), it was as though the audience couldn't really believe they'd witness the Godfather of Grunge rock out with the Redheaded Stranger in such close confines until they actually saw it. And Young diehards probably couldn't believe what they were hearing when the singer busted out the rarely-performed, resplendent Rust Never Sleeps** lullaby "Sail Away," which he performed standing almost nose to nose with Nelson at center stage.

"I wrote it for my car, but it works for you great," Young joked in barroom-chum fashion before serenading Nelson with his next number, a spellbinding rendition of the 1976 Stills-Young Band classic "Long May You Run." Strumming and swaying back and forth, eyes obscured by a baseball cap, his voice sounding pristine as if preserved in time, Young mostly sang it directly to Nelson, not to the crowd or the cameras. With White, Johnson and Monroe watching enchanted from the wings, it was a moment not lost on anyone but maybe the man of the hour, who was keeping a close eye on his friend and fellow Farm Aid organizer's left hand for the chord changes, making the rawness all the more real.
From Willie Nelson's CMT Crossroads Taping at Third Man Records Feat. Neil Young, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow and More, 4/18/13 | Nashville Cream:
And then it was the moment we still can't exactly believe we were privy to: Neil Young striding out plainly in his T-shirt and baseball cap, joining his old pal Willie Nelson for a take on "Sail Away" from Young and Crazyhorse's superb 1979 LP Rust Never Sleeps. Not only were Young's two tunes the only non-Willie numbers of the night, but "Sail Away" was also the only song that began with a false start — it seems the wrong lyrics were cued up on a teleprompter, and, Young admitted with good humor, it tripped him up a bit. While Nelson's contributions to the number were somewhat limited, it remained a goosebump-inducing moment, right up until Young punctuated the song's end with a mildly premature "thank you" — he mentioned that while on tour with the Judds many moons ago, he noticed their penchant for thanking the audience before the song was through. That got a big laugh. Young introduced his next song with the note that it was actually written for his car, but that it would work for Willie too. The tune was "Long May You Run," of course, and between the song's sentiment and Young's top-notch performance, it was The Spin's favorite moment of the evening.
(Thanks Matt!)

Neil Young
Jack White's Third Man Record Booth

From Third Man Records:
To be fair, most of our excitement is tied-up in the success of our Third Man Record Booth.

The dozens of people who waited in line to record their very own 111 seconds of vinyl magic walked away with one-of-a-kind audio mementos that we (and they) will never forget. Whether it was a marriage proposal, folk song, last will and testament, poem, one act play, a Sir-Mix-a-Lot cover or birthday greetings, accompanied by everything from a vintage 1920's Gibson mandolin, a boombox or an iPhone, every last recording from the booth was inspired and fulfilling. Even Neil Young stopped by and recorded a song in the booth.

The booth was carefully monitored by two engineers throughout the day to ensure all the mechanizations were in fine working order. Third Man made the decision (at least for Record Store Day) to use the highest quality aluminum substrate lacquers. These blanks offer the best fidelity for cold needle record cutting and can be played dozens and dozens of times without any noticeable audio degradation.

Record Store Day weekend has really put the booth through its paces and our engineers (Third Mangineers?) have learned a lot from this weekend and are making the necessary modifications to ensure the booth can soon be a permanent fixture in the Novelties Lounge.

Jack White also did a recording in the booth this weekend and we share that with you here for free so you can hear the warm analog fidelity that radiates out of this booth.
Neil Young
Photo via Third Man Records

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At 4/23/2013 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

When was Neil Young at the recording booth?

At 4/23/2013 12:54:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

JC: - either before or after the concert last week, we presume.

At 4/23/2013 02:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil was at the booth when it opened to the public Saturday for Record Store Day:

At 4/23/2013 03:33:00 PM, Anonymous Proud Doubter said...

Sail Away, good tune.

At 4/23/2013 03:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's very unlikely, but I would love it if Neil added Sail Away to his setlist on the next leg of the tour. I've always thought it was such an underrated song, overshadowed by the others on Rust Never Sleeps. Such a great melody and lyrics, whenever it comes up on my mp3 player (sorry Neil!) I always hit repeat again and again.


At 4/24/2013 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been waiting a long time for Neil to 'discover' and befriend Jack White! So I'm really excited for them to be meeting up a few times in the last year.

Maybe they'll play together one day.



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