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Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Neil Young Year in Review: Yes, Only Love Can Break (& Fix) Your Heart

Neil Young Dedicates the Hall of Fame Award to Ben Keith in Heaven
Nashville, 1/28/14 - Photo by Karen Kraft / The Tennessean

Neil Young
The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Event
Village Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California - January 21st, 2014

Neil & Pegi Young - GRAMMY's 1/27/2014

Stephen Stills & Neil Young
The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Event
Village Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California - January 21st, 2014

NEW ALBUM: Neil Young's A Letter Home Vinyl LP Released

Neil Young
Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, 04/02/2014
Photo by Jeff Allen

Thoughts on the Return of “Thrasher” After 36 Years
Setlist Los Angeles, CA, 3/29/2014
Photo by Candy Butterscotch

Maybe The Best Neil Young Concert Review EVER
Dallas 18 Apr 2014
photo by Sten Thorborg

Jack White and Neil Young on The Tonight Show - May 12

Neil Young & Crazy Horse cover "Born In The USA"
w/ Nils Lofgren & "The Signing Cheerleaders"
Photos via Wildaboutmusic - David Wild

Laurel Krause (Allison Krause's sister)
44th Anniversary Update on Kent State Truth Tribunal

Neil Young Rejects & Protects: KXL Rally - Washington, DC - April 26, 2014

Neil Young and Crazy Horse Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour Reviews

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
2014-07-12, Hyde Park, London, England
Photo by Paolo Brillo

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Live 1974 Box Set Details Announced

Neil Young's Donates To Coexistence Music Following Israel Concert Cancellation

"Plastic Flowers"

Neil Young is Back in the Recording Studio with Full Orchestra + Choir (Storytone Album)
George Doering, Chris Walden, and Neil Young (L to R)
Recording Chris Walden's arrangements at Sony Pictures Scoring Stage
via Gina Zimmitti Music Contracting | Facebook

Interview: "You can't conceive of the pleasure in my smile" - Neil Young's early years explored by Canadian author Sharry Wilson

Neil Young at Farm Aid 2014 Press Conference
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre - Raleigh, North Carolina - September 13, 2014

Human Highway poster image
EXCLUSIVE: Q&A on Human Highway Director's Cut
World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival

Field of Dreams: "Harvest the Hope" Cornfield Concert

"Who's Gonna Stand Up?"

Lukas Nelson, Neil Young, Micah Nelson & Promise Of The Real
HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 Bridge School Benefit Concerts - Pearl Jam, Florence & The Machine, Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, + More
Photo by Jay Blakesburg | Facebook

"Happiness is the valuable commodity and that's what makes life good"- Neil Young | WSJ
Photo by Matt Furman for The Wall Street Journal

Neil Young & Al Gore
“I don’t think there’s anybody, I know a bunch of musicians, I know the culture, and I don’t think there’s anybody in the world that has the position and respect that you have in the music community. All these young rockers out there, they look up to you.”
~~Al Gore

Neil Young Keynote at DreamForce '14

Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars by Neil Young

Neil Young On Howard Stern

The Colbert Report Interviews Neil Young, Oct. 14

Neil Young & Crazy Host

Neil Young's 1st Art Gallery Exhibit: Special Deluxe

36 Years Since Our Last "Thrasher": Neil Young, Philadelphia - October 8, 2014
Neil Young, Philadelphia - October 8, 2014
(Video by Sister Terri)

"The Missing Link" in Neil Young's "Ditch Quadrilogy" Finally Released

A Message From Neil: "How hard should I try?"

Neil Young Says Goodbye to Starbucks

Crazy Horse's Billy Talbot Suffers Mild Stroke, Expects Full Recovery
Melbourne, AUS Concert Reviews of Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Mar 13, 2013
via Michael S.J. | Photos of Rusties

Broken Arrow Magazine To Cease Publishing - The Final Issue for NYAS?
Photo by Uwe Grahl | Facebook

Dr. Rainer B., AKA “The Baron,” “Baron Rouge” and “Dr. Nusskopf”
In Memory of The Red Baron: Human Highway Founder Completes Final Upload To Cloud

Rick Rosas: 1949 - 2014
Liverpool, England - July 13, 2014
Photo by Paolo Brillo

Neil & Pegi + Ben & Friends
2014 Bridge School Benefit Concerts
Photo by Chuck N. | Rusties | Facebook

"Who's Gonna Stand Up and Save The Earth?"
Neil Young @ "Harvest the Hope Concert
Photo by Ryan Henriksen for The New York Times

Unlike some of those years of Neil Young past -- 2014 was one of the most heartbreaking years of all.

The man's productivity, resilience and sheer drive continues to be both amazing and inspiring.

We began 2014 with our sense of dread as the looming "Big Shift" rolled on, yet here we all are -- both irrevocably changed -- and yet still much the same as we ever were.

2014 had many amazing highlights as noted above for both Neil Young and Thrasher's Wheat.

Once again, we ponder that age old question: Is Neil burning out or fading away? We argue that he is neither. Neil Young is the quintessential survivor.

So we celebrate the music, achievements and all the good folks at Shakey Pictures. Onwards to 2015!

As for us? We're still excited about evolving our collaboration Thrasher's Wheat Radio with So we'll see you down the road in 2015.

because it's not about me.
and it's not about you.
it's all about about us.
you & me.

peace & love,
thrasher & thrashette
ps - For all of you who help us wage heavy wheat and made contributions of support recently, thank you notes have been going out and we hope to get them all completed by the end of the year. Apologies on delay and we truly appreciate your support.

It means that much to us, to mean that much to you.

Cowboy Indian Alliance Protests Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington, D.C. - April 26, 2014
Photo by Hounds That Howell



At 12/22/2014 04:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read all of the accomplishments and events of 2014 and don’t see any mention of the most significant one of all – Neil’s divorce from Pegi. Let’s show some basic acknowledgment and respect for someone who have been so much a part of Neil’s life and art for 36 years.
I do not think of this as gossip – any fan can tell you that Neil as put her on the stage as an opening act, as a back-up singer, and as overall musical collaborator, and continually cited her as central to his ability to create music and the lifestyle it entails –
it’s been in just about every interview, book or anything else he has put out over many years. It’s not reasonable to think that we should have somehow welcomed her as part of enjoying Neil’s work over many years and yet have zero interest in what happened or is happening now.
I see the editors did include a pic of Daryl but no mention of why she is featured other than an oblique reference to Plastic Flowers. We all know and have seen the publicity shots of them together, about their affair, about their life together in LA, the publicity surrounding her projects etc. I think fans care and also legitimately wonder about her impact on Neil’s work – especially after her in depth involvement with Storytone.
If this more than a NY PR site - and I think that it is - it would be better to cover everything (not just the positives)and let the readers decide what is of valuable to them.
Thanks for posting this and have a great 2015!

At 12/22/2014 05:55:00 PM, Blogger Dennis said...

Hi All,

I suspect many of you may find this an unusual post. Like many of you, Neil's music has been a musical score and backdrop to my life, for me, about 30 years. I once aspired to the "hippie dream" that Neil, in many (but not all) ways seems to embody. He's been able to make a darn good living at it, and we have been the beneficiaries of his artistic prowess and in some ways the gift of being able accompanying him on a great "musical ride" and have our own little piece of that hippie dream.

Somewhere along the way, I became a "white collar" conservative, though not flashing down the street, and I hope not pointing any plastic fingers. I've devoted my life to my wife and children, and professionally, to individuals with developmental disabilities, again, with Neil providing much of the musical score. I am reasonably conservative on most social and financial issues, but sure wish we'd stay at home a bit more when it comes to the the wars we wage--often at the expense of our needy brethren, and likely our children and grandchildren, and of course and sadly, real human capital.

I've never met the great man, but sat in the audience more times than I can count. That said, I have joked with my conservative friends that Neil Young is my best liberal, progressive pal, while spinning his tunes, sometimes in the face of their misunderstanding and criticism of the music we all love.

As a guy who has lead a pretty traditional, American Dream kind of life (no, I'm not a financially wealthy guy), Neil and his music and the flannel shirts I don at the end of the work day and on the weekends have allowed me to hold on to my small piece of the hippie dream previously mentioned.

In my journey "with Neil", his longstanding marriage and devotion to the lovely Pegi (and his children and he and Pegi's shared "causes"--e.g. The Bridge School) made him unique as a rocker and artist from that generation that produced so many irresponsible, self-serving, hippie rockers. I was so pleased and proud that Neil had become a one-woman man committed to that 'ol fuddy duddy, "till death do us part" ideal that has made our culture strong in so many ways. An ideal I hold and value deeply.

Thus, I was heartbroken to learn of his filing for divorce from Pegi. Panoramatoo, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the importance of their parting ways and that this is certainly news that should have been included in the year in review developed by Thrasher's Wheat. None of us, of course, know the deeply personal details behind such decisions, but what a sad day it was, when the divorce, or pending divorce, announcement was broadcast.

There are my two cents, for what they're worth. The next time Neil comes to town, whether solo, with the Horse, or another band, I'll get the best seats I can. I'll keep spinning the records and reading the books, but I'll sure miss the backdrop of Pegi Young and her clear influence on so much of Neil's work. That influence, as panoramatoo points out, was too big--or so it sure seemed--to be omitted from Neil's year in review.

By the way, Thrasher, thank you for adding a little to each day with your work on this blog/site...I won't stop reading!

Much Peace to you all during this season.


At 12/22/2014 06:10:00 PM, Blogger forest rph said...

Well said, Dennis & Panoramatoo.
I agree with their comments.

At 12/22/2014 07:20:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@panoramatoo - Thank you for the comment and a fair observation.

Here goes...

After running this site for 18+ years and daily blogging for a decade now, the Neil & Pegi news has been the toughest challenge yet by far.

When the news broke this summer, we let Neil's music speak for us. The setlist changes this summer said everything that could be said by the Man himself so our words & commentary were useless. We truly felt that devoted fans could interpret this all themselves without our editorializing.

Since then, we've been somewhat besieged for our opinion. Again, just listen to the album Storytone and it tells the story far better than we ever could here @ TW.

To your point of our lack coverage of the "news" of the year, we respectfully disgaree that the story is not covered in our Year in Review above.

Check the post title again: "Yes, Only Love Can Break (& Fix) Your Heart". The major setlist change this summer began with the inclusion of "Only Love Can Break (& Fix) Your Heart" in Reykjavík, Iceland. The setlists continued with "Days That Used To Be", "Don't Cry No Tears", "Love To Burn", "Separate Ways", & "Barstool Blues".

To any dedicated Neil fan, this was like a sign with 10 foot letters saying "WARNING: Trouble at the Ranch!" There really was no point in us pointing this out to folks if they couldn't figure it our for themselves or ask.

In February, we see Neil & Pegi at the Grammy's. You can judge for yourself the photo we selected and draw your own conclusions.

And then Daryl & Neil pic above and "Plastic Flowers" link. Again, the song's lyrics say more about the situation then we ever could. But Thrasher, what about Neil & Pegi & Daryl??? Listen to the music -- it's all there -- more than we can barely handle even ourselves, truth be told.

Lastly, check the Bridge image of Neil & Pegi hugging at the concert's conclusion.

Really, what more can we say about the situation? We're as heartbroken about all of this as anyone. We know what it's like to find your true soulmate. To love your soulmate. To experience the nirvana of unconditional love. And once we did, that is all that we ever wish, is for everyone to truly know that joy of finding and loving your heart of gold.

We can only wish them all well. The best thing that we can all do is let them seek their happiness without interference from a world that seems hellbent on destroying all that is good.

Lastly, regarding TW as a NY PR platform, that's something that only you can decide for yourself, short of coming over sometime for a beer, some Neil tunes and having a little conversation and dance with the Thrashers. And your welcome anytime. But if you ever have any doubts, check out our seat location at a Neil concert. We're not on the front row (unless GA). we get our tickets just like everyone else... the hard way.

@ Dennis - As you say, none of us know the deeply personal details behind such decisions, so why speculate? We can agree to disagree about whether the post above captures the headline Neil news of the year. From what we gather, most seemed to believe that we handled with just the right touch. If folks needed more gossip and scandal, then the internet is filled with that. We take a little pride in being a refuge from the dark side. Not from the light of truth, but from the distortions of the left/right duality matrix.

Much peace to you as well... in all dimensions, directions, and universes.

At 12/22/2014 07:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice summary Thrasher!

A year of ups and downs for sure. So sad about Pegi; even sadder that Rick Rosas is gone. I'm thankful that the members of Crazy Horse are all still going strong, hopefully to make another record before too long.

Special mention goes to the beautiful acoustic shows from early April. I urge anyone who hasn't heard them to seek out the Hollywood audience tapes, they are extraordinary.

A Letter Home? Would of been better without the booth "gimmick", in my opinion, but it was still a very worthy (if unexceptional) album, with some great song choices.

The summer electric tour was strong in my opinion. Again, some great song choices and inspired performances. The new one "Stand Up" has a few awful lyrics, but overall it was an exciting song to hear live.

Pono? If it inspires him to make some good music (e.g Driftin' Back) then that's great. I have nothing else positive to say about it. My strong advice is not to buy one; it will be abandoned (and rightfully so) in a year or two, and you will be left with what is essentially an absurdly expensive paper-weight. At the very least, spend some time researching both the placebo effect and 'confirmation bias', so you at least know what you are paying for. As Neil once said: "don't say I didn't warn you".

Storytone: My personal impression is that the acoustic version is the most emotionally moving, and I agree with Poncho that some of the lyrics (as with many of Neil's recent albums) lack the lyrical flair of his best work. Still, I do admit to having a soft spot for this album, and it's worlds better than any of the albums from 2004-2011. A genuinely worthy successor to Psychedelic Pill, despite some clumsy lyrics.

Overall I've really enjoyed Neil's music in 2014...and of course I hope 2015 is equally as sucessful!

At 12/23/2014 12:53:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Hey T,

Yes, it has been awhile. Just a quick note to say thanks for all that you guys keep on doing. Have lots more to say, and will do so in the near future. Sorry not to get back sooner, check your emails for some updates really soon...and thanks for checking in before Neil's early October show in Boston.

I really hope that Pegi is doing okay now. Saw her next-to-last show, and she was beyond devastated by Rick's passing. Sat at the end of Atwood's bar, and I honestly can't understand how she ever got to the end of that performance...but God bless her for carrying on. Probably the most raw and open performance that I've ever seen or ever will see.

Just finished reading Peter Guralnick's amazing two book bio of Elvis (finally after all these years), and I think I now have a much better idea of what it's like to somehow keep going through the pain. When it was all over and she was heading out, Pegi gave me a look from about two feet away, and I'll never forget that stare as long as I live.

And yeah, I did catch one of Neil's Boston shows (the second one).

RIP to the great Mr. Cocker

At 12/23/2014 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Dennis said...

Hey Thrasher,

Points well stated and well taken. I appreciate that you have chosen to stay above the fray on the Neil/Pegi personal matter(s) and the stories and issues you publish on the blog. A closer examination of the review surely, though subtle, presents on the matter with the class you aspire to and have always achieved on the site. I surely wasn't suggesting you stoop to gossip, innuendo, or haphazard judgement. And again, thanks for the forum, and an opportunity for us all to expose our hearts a bit.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays and new year!


At 12/24/2014 05:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think TW has handled the personal stuff with respect for privacy.

That's as it should be.

As you say, it'a all in the music.

The music should always be the main focus.

NY's music making this year was exceptional. Amazing. Inspiring.

He is just a great soul -- and he's a brave one too.

Thank-you TW for what you do.

At 12/24/2014 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

who gives a fuck about neil and pegi? do you know them? if not, why do you care? i for one am glad pegi's out of the picture. no more horrible back ground singing from her, ruining neil's songs. he's quite capable of singing out of tune on his own.

At 12/24/2014 02:50:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@flyingscotzman - it does seem that as the years go by, the ups and downs go higher and lower.

Yes, sure would like to hear another Crazy Horse album and tour. Poncho's latest interview indicated that he's certainly up for it.

let us see what '15 brings.

@ Mr Henry - good to see you drop by here at the end of the year.

Can't even imagine what Pegi has been going through and demonstrates a lot of strength to carry on with her tour. Good know you were there for support.

@ Dennis - Thanks. That's really all we try and do here for our readers and fellow fans ... expose our hearts.

And a Merry and Happy holiday to you and yours as well!

@Keith - thanks. While, yes it's all about the music, it is music with a purpose which we try and embrace and celebrate.

@Dominic - a very hurtful comment and not in the holiday spirit.

We hope that you find love in your heart this season. We can forgive and forget and hope you will someday as well.

Please consider how you would feel if your comments had been directed at your parents or children. We try and live by The Golden Rue here @ TW and hope our readers do as well.

May peace and love flow in all directions to you and you find the true meaning of the season.


At 12/24/2014 04:26:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Thanks for another great year Thrasher and Neil. Life is that box of chocolates you heard about, you never know what you're gonna get. I just appreciate the info received here at TW, it keeps me portered on the Neil Train, whether he's on the tracks or rumblin' in the ditch. I'm just a spectator in the grand concert scheme of Neil Percival Young I. Long may we all run. Merry Christmas and Happy Neil year to you all.

At 12/24/2014 06:11:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

For some strange reason I couldn't get my old NY feeling back . This is the first year since 1972 I didn't buy a Neil Young album or any related item.

At 12/25/2014 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

"Neil Young can read your mind" - Amy Poehler from "yes, please!"

At 12/25/2014 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

I read this somewhere about his songs being a cop-out when it comes to love. He was rejected by his father, used as a pawn by his mother, deserted friends so naturally his concept of love, real love, is going to be perceived as something that breaks your heart. What he doesn't know yet is that real love sets you free.

At 12/25/2014 09:47:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Ever impressed with the class you exhibit in running your masterful site and as the years roll on nothing but greater love and respect for how you do it. When the sad news of Neil/Pegi came down the pike I thought you were just being politically correct by not delving into it more directly, but reading your comments above shows a completely different level of depth, wisdom, and sensitivity ... hats off to your approach ... also your restraint with some of the bonehead comments is unassailable.
Thanks again for all your hard work in creating such a wonderful place for us to congregate and Happy New Year!

At 12/26/2014 09:19:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ DH - ps - that should've been "Golden Rule".

@ SONY _ Thanks for the kind words. Glad we're keeping you portered on the Neil Train, tracks or ditch mode. It's a journey either way. :)

@timothy - sorry to hear. Maybe 2015 will be a better year for you.

@ Mother Nature on the Run - now that's at odds with our impressions. Prairie Wind was a love letter to his Father and he seemed at peace with whatever the differences might have been. And after hearing A Letter Home this year, there's no doubt that there was a lotta for his Mom. So we just don't see any "warped" perspective on love coming from his folks. Not buying that line of thought today.
It seems very clear from Storytone what was going on with N&P and why D came into picture... at least to us.

But do agree that there is no other freedom that true unconditional love.

@ Dan1 - thanks. yes, this was an opportunity to get a few thoughts out. Actually, it's taken us this long to come to terms with the subject in such a way that we could write about it. It was all too raw early this year and with all the speculating going on it made us quite queasy. Well onto 2015. Never a dull moment at TW it seems...

At 12/28/2014 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

eh, i calls 'em like i sees 'em. unlike you, "thrasher", i'm not afraid of hurting poor neil's feelings. i'm sure he'll recover. as for pegi...she's out of the picture now, so can we please stop pretending to care about her or her "art"? let's face facts. she would have never made a record or toured if she wasn't neil young's wife. she just is NOT talented.

neil lost the plot a long time ago. sure, he has moments of brilliance now and again, but the golden era is long gone. poncho was absolutely spot on in the recent interview....neil should be focusing on the one thing is is very good at, which is music. i don't begrudge him for pursuing whatever he wants, but to keep putting out records that are half-assed and undercooked is pretty lame.

At 12/31/2014 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Most artists live very messy lives. I really do believe that what pours out of their soul is really very complicated making the connection very luring and compelling to anyone within range. I think that real art speaks for itself when it becomes participatory. Real art draws you in and latches on to your senses bringing about a heightened relationship to the artist. Most artists just want to leave their art out there and let it speak for itself which makes it very challenging for people who want more. I think we can all see that Neil connects to humanity through the songs that pour out of his heart regardless of his upbringing or relationships to people.

I am really enjoying the new basement tapes, are you?


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