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Thursday, November 17, 2016

NEW ALBUM: Pegi Young & The Survivors - 'Raw'


Pegi Young
Photo by Jay Blakesberg

Pegi Young has a new album coming out in February 2017 titled 'Raw'.

In an interview in Rolling Stone by David Browne, Pegi discusses life after her divorce from Neil Young and the heartbreak which pervades her new album.
"Looking out, it's just a gorgeous day," Pegi Young says from her family ranch south of San Francisco. "It's beautiful here." If woodsy nature weren't inspiring enough, the arrival of a grandchild about 10 days before is also reason to celebrate. "Seeing him and holding him – oh, my gosh," Young says of her grandson. "It was euphoric. It was just amazing."

Young's recent life hasn't always been so joyful. Two years ago, word leaked out that her husband Neil was filing for divorce after 36 years of marriage. "We were having a rough patch," Pegi, 63, admits. "But I never would've thought in a million years we would be getting divorced. So, yeah, there was a bit of a shock value there."

Like many before her, Young decided to turn her range of feelings into songs. In 2007, Young, who had frequently sung backup in her husband's band, belatedly launched her own career with a self-titled album, followed by three more. But none are quite like Raw, which Young will release in February. Raw opens with a pointed jab at her ex, "Why" (as in "Why'd you have to ruin my life," its refrain). In songs she co-wrote with two members of her band, keyboard legend Spooner Oldham and guitarist Kelvin Holly, Young works her way through feelings of hurt ("Gave My Best to You," "Too Little Too Late," "Lonely"), acceptance ("You Won't Take My Laugh Away from Me") and, finally, exhaustion with her own turmoil ("Up to Here"). Interspersed are covers soaked in heartbreak: Otis Clay's "Trying to Live My Life Without You," Dolly Parton's "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind,"" Randy VanWarmer's 1978 Lite FM hit "Just When I Needed You Most" and the Nancy Sinatra–associated feminist anthem "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'."

"We looked at all the songs we had and I just put together this initial sequence and, you know, it was perfect," Young says. "It told a story. I kind of look at it as a soundtrack to the seven stages of grief. You've got anger, then shock and disbelief. As we go through the album, the later songs show my growth and ... I can't say total acceptance, but I think the last song, that wonderful Don Henley song ["The Heart of the Matter"], talks about forgiveness. That's really where it's at, you know?"

...
When the news broke, Young had just released her fourth album, Lonely in a Crowded Room, with her band the Survivors. Although songs on that album and some of its predecessors – "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers," "Gonna Walk Away," "Lie" – seemed to imply marital discord, Young denies that was the case at the time. "Things weren't entirely going well," she says. "People look at those songs and go, 'Oh, well, that was obviously a precursor to the divorce.' But it really wasn't."

That wasn't the case with the new songs she began writing post-divorce. "Those early songs seem like the angriest," she laughs now. "I had to figure out at 61 years of age: 'Holy moly! Who am I?' So much of my life has been dedicated to my family and to Neil. So I was a bit lost for a while. I was on my own for a long time before I married Neil, and now I'm on my own again. I've kind of gotten over the separation and divorce. I'm capable. I can do this."
...

Despite the heartbreak that accompanied her breakup, Young admits one aspect of her life with Neil has stayed with her: his candid approach to songwriting. "Having lived with him for so many years and learning from him by observance, he writes from his heart," she says. "So I just don't think there's any other way to go about it."

"Even though this is probably the most personal record I've ever done, I still think there's a universality to it," she says. "I'm certainly not the only person to have gone through a divorce. I'm not the only person who's had heartbreak. Heartbreak is pretty universal, sadly but truly. And I hope that other people that have gone through similar or different situations can relate to it."

"I guess I just want people to know there's hope, and not just hope but forgiveness, which is so key to our mental health," she says. "We go through things we may not've expected, what we thought was maybe our future. But even if we get the shock of our lifetime, life goes on. You figure out who you are again, and you just keep going on. I'm a living persona of that."
Full interview in Rolling Stone by David Browne.

Neil and Pegi Young

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10 Comments:

At 11/17/2016 07:50:00 PM, Blogger Pug Sniper1234 said...

Damn Neil. Way to go. Pegi is obviously a good woman and deserves better than your narcissistic ass. Will you listen? Do you have the nerve? Maybe you should play it for your "girlfriend"

 
At 11/17/2016 08:04:00 PM, Blogger RichieCruz said...

I'm gonna go ahead and just refrain from saying anything nasty or making judgement calls on a relationship that involves two people who I personally don't know. That's between the two of them, and it ain't no business of mine.

I am looking forward to hearing these new songs that Pegi wrote, hope the album is a success, and hope that she plays here again in the Santa Cruz area. My best wishes to ya, Pegi!

 
At 11/17/2016 09:40:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@pug - how could people get so unkind?
ps - re: your handle? Is that short for pugnacious?

@Richie - agree on this. Quite a delicate matter here at TW on how to handle. We also wish Pegi & Survivors all the best and success. It looks like she is well on her way through the 7 stages.

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger in the end.

courage & godspeed Ms Pegi.

 
At 11/18/2016 12:24:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

I was wondering if we'd be hearing from Pegi and the Survivors again. I'm glad she's still out there doing her bit. Especially after the relatively recent of Rick "The bass player" Rosas, I, too, wish them all the best. I won't comment on people's personal relationships other than to say I'm glad both Neil and Pegi continue to make music.

Speaking of new music, three tracks from "Peace Trail" have now popped up on spotify, and based on these samples, I'm excited for this album. We now have the title song, "Show me", and "My Pledge". I just listened to "My Pledge" for the first time. Don't know quite what to say other than... whoa. Shades of Powderfinger, On the Beach, Captain Kennedy, Tired Eyes-- all at once. It is acoustic but I think it could also be arranged as a grunge-rock number. For those who haven't heard it, the only spoiler I'll dangle is that there is reference/homage paid to the Day the Music Died.

I've already said that I found "Peace Trail" (the song) inspiring and "Show Me" is a straight protest rock number, pulling no punches.

Still, despite my excitement about what I just heard from Neil... I don't want to hijack the thread from Pegi. I should spend some time with each of these new albums. I've neglected Pegi's releases a bit and mean to rectify it... I do remember a very sensitive recording of D. Whitten's "I Don't want to Talk About it".

Incidentally, I was saddened to read about Leon Russell's death. It seems to be one after another this year. I know him mainly from his contribution to the Concert For Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison as possibly the first major beneift show in rock history. Russell sang a very lively "Jumpin' Jack Flash". I'll hit the submit button now, before I stream of consciousness-ing about the Stones' upcoming blues album...

 
At 11/18/2016 12:33:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Agree with Richie Cruz about personal relationships. But I'm glad both Neil and Pegi are still making music. I was wondering if/when we'd hear from her again, under the circumstances. I've neglected Pegi's albums a little and I'd like to rectify that, so I hope to enjoy both Raw and Peace Trail. From Pegi's previous releases, I do remember a sensitive recording of D. Whitten's I Don't Want to Talk About it.

Speaking of music--check out My Pledge from Peace Trail. The track is now up on Spotify and possible other download services. I don't know quite what to say about it except... whoa. It's kind of got shades of On the Beach, Captain Kennedy, Powderfinger, Tired Eyes... even Crime in the City... all at once. It's acoustic but I think could also work as a grunge-rock number. It's certainly different, and I hope I'm not raising people's expectations too far when I say that I'm a little overwhelmed by what I just heard for the first time. Combined with the other two tracks now up on Spotify, I'm excited for this new album. The other two are the title song, Peace Trail, which is upbeat and inspiring, and Show Me--a straight protest rock song that pulls no punches. Give them a listen on the streaming service of your choice and thank Neil for returning to this form of distribution.

 
At 11/18/2016 12:58:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

The details are none of our business but still a shock to read, but Pegi's got Broken Arrow I'm still surprised by all of this. Pegi lovely lady I'm sure but a lightweight songwriter and an average voice. Neil gave her the platform for this. I wish them both well but the music from Neil hasn't been great since the split.

There are no winners here.

 
At 11/18/2016 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Mick Funz said...

You can't make judgments based on one side's story . . . and also, who cares?
When I became a Neil Young fan I became a fan of his music, mostly.
Divorces, meanness, betrayal . . . this is stuff the neighbour does! I'm going to let these things affect my love of music?

And, based on the song sample I heard from Pegi's new album I would say that some people are hobbyist musicians & maybe someone should be honest & tell them. cough.

 
At 11/18/2016 01:10:00 PM, Blogger Arthur said...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOrhjgt-_Qc

You go girl!

 
At 11/18/2016 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

Pug that's what you get when you don't drink the koolaid and heil to the almighty Neil. I suspected all along that he broke her heart during a delayed mid life crisis. They don't call him Shakey for nothing. It's his loss. I hope she finds real happiness soon.

 
At 11/18/2016 05:06:00 PM, Blogger Bluemoon said...

I suspected all along the divorce was his doing and that he broke her heart during a delayed mid-life crisis. Certainly in line with how Shakey has treated people his whole life. Use them then lose them. I hope she finds real happiness soon. She deserves it.

 

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