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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: ‘The Visitor’ by Neil Young + Promise of the Real - December 1 Release

‘The Visitor’
by Neil Young + Promise of the Real

With Neil Young announcing his latest new album titled ‘The Visitor’ -- and sharing the 1st preview track “Already Great” -- already the Neil fan based is -- once again -- being whip sawed by various praises and criticisms.

So here's a little more fodder to chew on in the meantime as we countdown the December 1 release date -- an official Press Release on ‘The Visitor’ by Neil Young + Promise of the Real.

November 8, 2017 (Burbank, CA) - Neil Young + Promise Of The Real will release their new studio album The Visitor [Reprise Records] on Friday, December 1, 2017 in stores and via all digital music retailers. The vinyl edition will follow on January 5, 2018. The digital pre-order grants an instant grat download of the new track "Already Great."

When Neil Young entered Shangri La Studio with the band Promise Of The Real a few months ago, there were a lot of images and feelings careening around his soul. The country was heading in a direction Young had never seen, even though up until then he thought he'd seen it all. But something different was happening, and it had gotten inside his music. "I'm a Canadian by the way and I love the USA," he sings on the first song "Already Great." The ethos of The Visitor can be summed up in the refrain of "Already Great" where Young insists, "Already great, you're already great. You're the promise land, the helping hand. No wall. No hate. No fascist USA. WHOSE STREET? OUR STREET." From those words, Neil Young was ready to take a musical journey on his new album The Visitor like he had never taken before. It was one where he'd even surprise himself, always the mark of a creative leap. By the end of the recording sessions, he knew he'd made his most diverse album going all the way back to Harvest in 1972, when America was also in the throes of becoming unhinged. Neil Young didn't blink then, and he is not blinking now.

The Visitor is an intriguing and always exciting peek into the mind and heart of one of rock & roll's true seekers. Neil Young has wandered a wide path since coming to Los Angeles from Canada over 50 years ago. During those many decades he has established an immediately apparent individualism that cannot be predicted. Young has often said that when things become ordinary, he's ready to shake things up and head for new ground. It has always been what marks Young's music. His new songs, whether it's a mashup of spoken word and rock & roll on "Fly By Night" or the heart-stopping beauty of "Forever," once again ask listeners to stay open and ready for whatever comes through the open channels of the man and his unstoppable band.

Listening to an album like The Visitor is not unlike taking off on a cross-country trip without a map. There is no way to tell where the destination will lead or what will be encountered. At one moment the savage rock of "Stand Tall" leads into Caribbean and Latin musical strains rising through on "Carnival," only to turn around to embrace the blues on "Digging a Hole." There is also the modern funk-rock of "When Bad Got Good," the anthemic "Children of Destiny" and the spirit-tugging strength of "Change of Heart" to ensure the musical travels remain full of wonder. With the unlimited ability of Promise of the Real, featuring Lukas and Michah Nelson along with Corey McCormick, Anthony Logerfo and Tato Melgar, the passionate power of their playing pushes the songs to maximum expression. There are very few rock bands now who can go to as many places as this outfit and always deliver their own distinct identity.

The closing song on The Visitor feels like a prayer for today and tomorrow. In "Forever," Neil Young sings "Earth is like a church without a preacher, the people have to pray for themselves." These lines, and everything else on this landmark release point to the future in a way that sounds the alarm for troubled times but at the same time offers hope that, once again, music can help lead the way to understanding and hopefully a better place.

Today Neil Young walks in his own footsteps, just as he has done since his first days venturing into neighborhood clubs in Canada when he was still a teenager. He has a guitar, he has a voice and he has songs that express a unique way of looking at the world. And once again he is ready to tell us where we've been and just maybe where we might be heading. By listening we can join together and share the challenges and find a way forward together. Once again.

See the full tracklisting below.

In 2015, Neil Young + Promise Of The Real released The Monsanto Years. It bowed at #2 on the Billboard Top 200, #4 on the Billboard Rock Albums Chart, and #2 on the Billboard Folk Albums Chart. It received acclaim from Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and more. They followed up The Monsanto Years with 2016's live album, Earth. The Visitor is the next step on their collective journey together.

The Visitor Tracklisting:
Side 1
Already Great
Fly By Night Deal
Almost Always
Stand Tall

Side 2.
Change Of Heart
Diggin' A Hole

Side 3
Children Of Destiny
When Bad Got Good
More on Neil Young Announces his latest new album titled ‘The Visitor’ + Fan Reaction and Shares the 1st preview track “Already Great” + More Fan Reactions.

Labels: , ,


At 11/08/2017 11:27:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Monsanto Years peaked at #2 on Billboard? I just checked the chart and #21 seems right....

At 11/08/2017 11:27:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/08/2017 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Well I'm intrigued.

At 11/08/2017 12:09:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Campbell - yes, that seems to be a typo.

@ Syscrusher - we're intrigued too -- as usual.

And -- as usual -- we're quite intrigued by our fellow fans reaction to Neil's latest.

What we found most curious about all negative reactions to the 1st preview track “Already Great” was how there was very, very little -- if any -- specific agreement or disagreement about whether America is really truly, “Already Great”. Maybe a passing aside or 2 of Donald Trump and zero mentions of Hillary Clinton.

All the focus was on the music and craft. Which -- of course -- makes a lot of sense when reviewing music. But. As we like to point out w/ Neil, there's more to this than just music.

Let's go back to Ohio. Neil & CSNY taking on Nixon by name. Or Living With War and "Let's Impeach The President (Bush)".

Now “Already Great” which takes a swipe at Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" (MAGA)

So it seems Neil is continuing a tradition that many have relished for decades. While it's definitely not the 60's anymore, rabble rousing never goes out style.

Nor singing truth to power.

At 11/08/2017 02:07:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I think I'll buy a Tom Petty record on December 1st...

At 11/08/2017 02:22:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

Is Neil Young Already Great or is he just a Fly By Night Deal? Almost Always, I Stand Tall for Neil but I can always have a Change Of Heart. In this Carnival of rust, many are Diggin' A Hole and burying Neil's Children Of Destiny. But then, When Bad Got Good, we found those songs lived Forever.

At 11/08/2017 02:30:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Lone Red Rider. Some well selected song titles there.

Funny, but the other day someone remarked about how we were being cryptic by using lyrics as replies. Actually, 2 things. One it's a highly efficient way to get a lot of info across in a few words. 2, how exactly is that cryptic when the lyrics are readily accessible and readily decipherable?

Anyways. A point we missed making above is that it is kind of sad that a PR needs to be released in advance of an album to try and explain what is going on.

Really? Has it come to this? Can you imagine The Doors issuing a PR for LA Woman? Or any other example you can think of.

Have we really devolved this far, so quickly that audiences need to have purposes handed to them on a platter?

Sadly so. Of the 50+ comments on the song thus far, not a single comment has specifically referenced: "Already great, you're already great. You're the promise land, the helping hand. No wall. No hate. No fascist USA. WHOSE STREET? OUR STREET."

We know what we'll be doing on Dec 1. And we know what LRR will be doing on Dec 1, also.


At 11/08/2017 02:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/08/2017 03:25:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Well Thrasher, if you're like me and you consider art and music to be the only worth while things humans have created, then yes, America is great.

...Canada too!

At 11/08/2017 03:50:00 PM, Blogger The Young Oslo Neil said...

Dear Thrasher.
I am glad you helped me hear the crowd slogans. Not being an english spoken person I had a little trouble to analyse the words.
Would it be even stronger if Neil had joined in? Well, works well as a documentary dimension, almost as the noises on EARTH.
And off course it make the song much closer to its antitrumpisme.

At 11/08/2017 08:13:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ Thrasher wrote:

Sadly so. Of the 50+ comments on the song thus far, not a single comment has specifically referenced: "Already great, you're already great. You're the promise land, the helping hand. No wall. No hate. No fascist USA. WHOSE STREET? OUR STREET."

For me, the song simply isn't any good so I focused on talking about the song, not the message. The message, however earnest it may be, is so simplistic and completely lost in the shambolic nature of the song that it's basically rendered meaningless.

The song just doesn't hold up to scrutiny, either musically or as a political statement, but if I had to choose one over the other, I'd choose the music. It has a casual free flowing improvised style to it that at times is somewhat engaging. Had Neil chosen to work on the lyrics and performance, it had the potential to be good and maybe even great, but sadly, it appears he wasn't fully engaged.

And in my view, our country is great because it is good. The clown in the White House can't change that, though he can chip away at it slightly. "It's an angry world, but everything will be alright"...

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 11/09/2017 04:22:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

The more I listen to "Already Great", the more I get it.

Neil sings, "I got to taste the life in Freedom Land and play my part in God's plan". Then he gives way to the voices of the multitudes, as if to say "It's your turn now." I appreciate and admire his idea of using his music to make not just his voice heard, but the voices of the hundreds and even thousands of "average" Americans who have raised their voices on the streets in the past year. "No wall! Note hate! No fascist! USA!" almost makes the song.

POTR have got the groove to my ears. Between the brooding electric guitar swipes, the bouncing piano, and the collage of human voices, the sound is busy but--to me--engaging and potentially even exciting. And I do think there's a strong sense of melody and musicality going on. Like "Children of Destiny", we have the contrast of two different musical segments--in this case the verse and the chorus--that alternate, providing a kind of push-and-pull that builds momentum.

As I said before, the chords are highly Neil-ish and, for me, quite affecting. I'm starting to engage emotionally with the melody itself, its emotional ebb and flow, and the whole sound of the piece. That's a good sign. The lyrics are rather bald in places, but with the other elements in play, there's a chance for the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts. Simplistic message? It's arguable, but as with most pieces of music, I'd argue that one won't get the full message from the words alone. What really makes a *song* work (or not) is the meshing of music, words, and sound to create feeling in the listener. In this case, one of the sounds is the chanting of the protestors. And those words alone say more, I think, than anything coming out of Neil's mouth throughout this 6 minutes of music.

This time next month, I'm sure all of these thoughts and feelings will be added upon and revised. What I've given here are first impressions (from about 5 listens in the last day or 2), and I am deeply curious to delve into the remaining parts of The Visitor. To hear the remaining 8 songs, which promised to be at least varied if not vast; to see how this song sits in that context; and to be able to mull over the album as a full piece of artwork in and of itself.

"All the paintings and the sketches lay scattered on the sand
And the condominium was close at hand.
Things were getting hard to follow.
I was feeling pretty hollow,
When the stranger came to me and put out his hand."

Time to ride my llama again!

At 11/09/2017 09:17:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Syscrusher - art and music is a pretty short list and seems like that there should more to add. OTOH, maybe that's a good thing it's a short list.

@ The Young Oslo Neil - thanks for your recent comments here on TW. Good to see the International Neil community in action.

@ Topanga D - thanks for all of your well considered comments here and over the years. You've made TW a better place with your insights.

Your focus on the message is key for us. At this point, why else to bother to communicate? Remember the lyrics: "People just want to hear above love" from The Monsanto Years?

As true as that might be, people really want to hear messages that they can use and learn from you. So we can't agree that a simple message is meaningless.

Ok, so the song doesn't hold up either musically or politically for you and many others. Maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow?

As we mentioned in another post, there's a similar parallel with early reactions to Greendale, Living with War and other post Y2K albums. All of those albums were harshly met on all levels -- musically, politically, technically, etc.

And now Greendale is regarded as one Neil's finest post Y2K albums.

@ Ian - Good to hear it's growing on you. And POTR definitely have a groove!

Interesting comment about the chanting of the protestors saying more than Neil's lyrics. maybe there's a point here about what's going with albums these days being vehicles to communicate more than just love songs to dance to?

At 11/09/2017 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Art Carey said...

Wondering: If this album had been made by someone without a very valuable back catalogue, would any bottom-line-driven record company release it?

I guess Archives 2 won't be under anyone's Christmas tree this year.

At 11/09/2017 12:04:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Good thoughts Ian. I'm not too far away from your general opinion. It seems we're both struggling a little with the song as a whole but we can find elements in it to be enjoyed and/or admired to some extent. Hey, it is what it is and I'm glad Neil's still making new music...

And, I am looking forward to the new album and in no way have pre-determined it to be a failure. I'm one of the few here who really liked/likes Children of Destiny. To my ears, that song is a "mature" work that "sounds" good, has relevant and meaningful lyrics and has a catchy melody.

Thrash: I admit that someday I'll likely enjoy the song more than I do today. I truly can't think of one Neil song/album that I don't to some extent appreciate more in retrospect than I did upon its release. Today, I can find pleasure and appreciation in all of Neil's previous work, primarily because I remember where I was when I first heard it and how it made me feel at the time. Each and every album now holds some special place in my heart, because, if nothing else it helped get me (and us) here today. There's a story being told and we're all a part of it in some small psychic (or psychotic) way.

For example, I vividly remember looking forward to the Trans album coming out and I remember waiting in line the day tickets went on sale for his show at the Baltimore Civic Center that year. I remember initially loving the vocoder songs, then hating them, then ignoring them and then loving them again (over that year and the years that have followed). At certain times, it just sounds and feels "right" and charmingly weird, and at other times it just sounds weird to me, but it brings a smile to my eyes remembering those other days...

Regarding Greendale and Living with War, I loved both albums from day one and still love them, and I also love Peace Trail.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing the full album and my mind and ears are open. We're older now, but we're still the children of destiny...

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 11/09/2017 12:18:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Art - we hear you on Archives vs the new stuff. We think everyone has perspectives on this. The old fans probably lean more to bring out NYA#2. The younger fans probably lean more to releasing new stuff and touring.

And of course there's the super fans who want it all -- new, old and tours.

But you are absolutely correct: no Archives 2 under your Christmas tree this year.

@ Topanga D - Really good points on time and perspective and opinions.

Things change. We change. The world changes. Neil evolves on his own path.

Not to harp on 1970 and Ohio once again, but it really is still totally relevant which is why we bring this stuff up constantly.

What has changed?

Still at war and still tin soldiers cutting us down.

As hard as is it to believe, but in some respects, things are much much worse today than in 1970, sadly. Some say, there was a draft than and it all made it seem closer to home. True. And folks don't see campuses in turmoil and flag draped coffins anymore so all is well right?

Wrong. All the turmoil and trouble has been submerged and metastasize into something far worse.

The whole "Already Great" vs MAGA business is a very interesting debate which again, we're dismayed that this isn't what all the chatter is about. That's why Neil wrote the song -- to have that discussion. He didn't write so folks could pontificate about the rhythm, the beat, crafted songwriting lyrics, the magic air, etc.

And -- just in case anyone is missing our point here -- the f'g record company reprise had to issue a PR to Neil's fans to explain to them what the album was really all about. sad. clearly someone is not doing their job @ TW. Maybe TW needs a new editor?

MTWGA? or "Already Great"?

At 11/09/2017 01:23:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Hey Thrash, I say this with admiration, respect and many thanks:

Thrashers Wheat strives to be great!

Most times it hits the mark, at times it exceeds the mark and at rare times it misses the mark, but the heart and soul cannot be questioned. Thrasher and Thrashette make the Web a better place, and anyone who claims to be a Neil fan must surely by extension be a TW fan.

Just like Neil, every now and then a wrong chord is hit by TW and the community, but it's usually with the best intentions, and quite often those wrong chords lead to beautiful music.

Thanks for your dedication over the years. I know it's a passion of yours, but I also know it's time consuming hard work and for the most part, thankless work. Well, please accept my heartfelt thanks, and if I could offer more than that, I would...

At 11/09/2017 05:11:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...

Thrasher I don't think the press release is for fans at all - Reprise will bank on us shelling out regardless.

No I read the release as an attempt to engage journalists /bloggers / radio producers - it talks about Neil's musical journey resulting a in "his most diverse album" - this is real teaser material for any who hasn't been following Neil of late or has lost interest. Look at the list of musical styles it mentions - Caribbean and Latin, blues, funk-rock, "anthemic " - words that'll make many diehard fan shudder at the thought of another Neil mish-mash, but one that I guess they reckon will appeal to a wider audience looking for something fresh from a reassuring artist.

And I think releasing "Already Great" up front is a cunning way to get the "if America is so great why don't you take citizenship" comments well out of the way before the album is released and maybe even try to appeal to that section of Neil's country audience who may have drifted politically away from his recent environmental concerns,

Just to add I'm out in the UK here so forgive me if I've misread anything politically. And I have to say I'm holding back opinions of "Already Great" until I hear the rest of the album and get the whole story\journey - at first listening the song is too specifically "American" for me to take anything immediate from it and I need some more context from the rest of the album. I had the same response to Living With War as the British response to those conflicts was quite different and I couldn't make a complete connection to those songs for quite a while.

I guess that makes me some kind of Visitor too.

Hambone in the UK

At 11/09/2017 05:36:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Topanga D - Accepted. totally. And all of your well crafted & argued are more than enough support.

Actually, of all the videos, photos, Paypal donations, etc., it's the comments from our community which we value and treasure the most.

Better than silver & gold.

@ Hambone - good point.

Yes, you're absolutely right that this seems to be a pre-emptive ttempt to deflect the inevitable criticism in the press.

Maybe it was a test run of the arguments?

And you're definitely spot on with releasing "Already Great" as way to get the "if America is so great why don't you take citizenship" comments out of the way.

Frankly, we've found that many from the international community have a much more astute handle on matters here in the USA. So feel free to observe and comment on affairs on this side of the pond all you like.

Right, we're all just lonely visitors... but never too late to cause a stir...

At 11/09/2017 11:46:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Topanga, I completely agree about Children of Destiny. And that bodes well for the new album. The whole vibe so far seems like bits of Storytone, Monsanto, and Peace Trail are somewhere in the sound.

I drifted back to Storytone just last night. I love that there are two versions of that album, as I like pieces of both. And that's not even touching the "Mixed Pages" re-mixes. I'm one who was A-okay with much of the orchestral sound, so I'm happy enough that it seems like traces of that remain on Children of Destiny. The orchestrated version of Plastic Flowers was one of the most exciting, fresh things I'd heard from Neil in the last few years, so if he's holding on to a bit of that inspiration, I'm hopeful. Same thing for Say Hello to Chicago, with that big band sound. Some numbers, particularly When I Watch You Sleeping and Who's Gonna Stand Up, neither need nor especially benefit from a lot of strings. In fact, I think my favorite take on Who's Gonna Stand Up is the remix with the live electric arrangement. When I listened to that, I felt I was finally hearing that song in its element. It just goes to show that a whole mixture of sounds and musical ideas is conducive to serving Neil's compositions; a little of this and a little of that.

As Hambone says, the press release does read like a boilerplate teaser to excite the broad listening public. Although personally, I'm all for Neil mixing and matching diverse styles. It's what he's been doing anyway, and who would want 'em all to sound the same? It's a sign the imagination is still going and the composer continues to partake of life's rich pallet. Seeing as Sleeps with Angels is one of my all time favorite albums, I really can't complain about "another Neil mish-mash". I love it when new sounds find their way into the mix.

At 11/10/2017 02:52:00 AM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

All this hand-wringing over the issuance of a press release is rather odd - do people not understand the concept of public relations? Businesses send press releases to media outlets all the time, trying to get them to write about their products, and they attempt to make those products sound as interesting and important as possible. Warner/Reprise issues press releases about all of its artists (, including Neil; there's a lengthy list of releases about his previous albums and activities at the bottom of his page (

And it's nothing new. I wrote record reviews when I started in daily journalism back in 1977 and our newspaper regularly received press releases about new albums, along with review copies. I can guarantee you one existed for "L.A. Woman," though it's not easy to track down now; those were the pre-internet days of paper and ink, so there's nothing online. Would you settle for "Tapestry"? ( Or maybe "Born to Run"? (

At 11/11/2017 11:13:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Babbo B - you're right and we concede our point here.

It is just a press release for "the press" -- not fans who do get what's happening here.

ok, on to Neil's birthday parties tomorrow!

At 11/12/2017 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent point


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And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat