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Sunday, May 10, 2020

TW EXCLUSIVE: Silver and Gold Again by Morgan Enos

"The perfect pandemic antidote" says TW
"Silver and Gold" by Neil Young (2000)

Last week, we published a review by Morgan Enos "Silver and Gold": Neil Young’s Most Precious Treasure | Talkhouse in which Enos describes how Neil Young's album "Silver and Gold" helps a young family forge new traditions. Morgan Enos writes:
Out of all his albums, Young’s homey 2000 album Silver and Gold is a balm for right now.
Then, days after publishing, on Neil Young's Fireside Sessions #4, Neil performs 3 songs from the 2000 album "Silver and Gold": "Good to See You", "Daddy Went Walking", "Distant Camera". As we commented: "Coincidentally -- or not -- just the other day we had a post about S&G being the perfect "pandemic"/splendid isolation album. hmmm.

Then, this weekend, the featured performance on Neil Young Archives was the concert film "Silver and Gold"!

So we got in touch with Morgan about these synchronicities and asked him if he would like to tie all of this together for our readers here at TW. Gratefully, Morgan re-watched the concert film "Silver and Gold" and Fireside Sessions #4 and graciously provided us with the following thoughts and revelations.

Thanks Morgan! We think The Big Guy might be listening. ;)

Author Morgan Enos & "Silver and Gold" by Neil Young
"Silver and Gold": Neil Young’s Most Precious Treasure | Talkhouse

Silver and Gold Again

By Morgan Enos

There’s a zoo and museum in Sussex County, New Jersey, called Space Farms that’s been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but if you’re lucky, you can visit its buffalos from the side of the road. My wife Brenna and I are journalists who work from home, and the great Little Richard’s death consumed the better part of our Saturday after a long week.

After our stories were filed, we exhaustedly cued up Neil Young’s Silver and Gold on his Neil Young Archives app and cruised out to Space Farms from our house in Hackensack. By the time we arrived, a light snowstorm had materialized during otherwise perfect weather, dusting the huddled-together buffalo family with ice flakes that shone in the sun. What a sight.

We call it “Silver and Gold Season” right now because that album just turned 20 and it’s been playing on a loop around here. Last month, I wrote an essay for Talkhouse talking about its evergreen nature in my life — specifically, how it helps my wife and I forge new traditions and keep the connection to my late dad going. (I’ve also written articles about his live album Tuscaloosa and the history of his Archives site.)

Young appears acutely aware of the anniversary. On Thursday, he unveiled the fourth edition of his Fireside Sessions digital concert series, in which he performed “Good to See You,” “Daddy Went Walkin’,” and “Distant Camera” — Silver and Gold songs he hadn’t performed in years.

I felt something wild seeing him pluck out these underappreciated tunes from his home. I texted my aunt (my dad’s sister) and told her it was like Young was strumming around the firepit back in Atascadero, California — as if my dad, who loved Silver and Gold and who we both miss very much, was preparing his famous bacon-wrapped filets just outside of the frame.

“I can’t imagine how your dad would have felt watching Neil play ‘Good to See You,’” she responded. “It’s a message to you through Neil.” At the end of that one, which he hadn’t performed since 1999, he lingers with the guitar in his hand as if it’s literally good to see the song again. (“I can never get it right,” he cracks. “It seems like a simple little song.”)

After a solemn run-through of “Daddy Went Walkin’” — which has a bittersweet Ben Keith-sized hole in it — Young switches to piano for a more well-known song from the era, “Mother Earth.” Then he’s back at the firepit for “Distant Camera,” which Young picks out like it’s much fresher in his memory. What a treat to hear Silver and Gold songs in the present day, in a format that feels like it was played just for me and Brenna.

Young further rang in Silver and Gold Season by sharing 2000’s Neil Young: Silver and Gold, a concert film directed by the late Larry “L.A.” Johnson which documents a 1999 solo show at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas. I’ve seen it dozens of times, but it was comforting to revisit the little worn-in details — the Sierra Nevada bottle, the stage decorated with candles, Young’s remark about the venue resembling a “music church.”

By the time the title track wafts in over the credits, I’m reliably soothed. (It’s also a good reminder that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s final album, 1999’s Looking Forward, contains a handful of gorgeous Young cuts recorded with the Silver and Gold band that serve as a beautiful little companion piece. Yes, I have this imaginary EP as a NYA playlist.)

Brenna and I aren’t done ringing in Silver and Gold Season. She and I used to play in a rock ‘n roll band, so over dinner, we pondered getting out the guitars and learning the songs together. I’m writing this little follow-up about the album instead because my new friends at Thrasher’s Wheat asked me to, which is a real honor. Of course, I immediately said yes.

Even when our minds drift to other subjects during this lockdown, I know I’ll eventually share Silver and Gold with my future kids. I hope they share it with theirs as well. That’s what it’s all about — family and holding onto things we cherish.

Sometimes a “simple little song” is all you need.

Morgan at Space Farms, Sussex County, New Jersey

Brenna at Space Farms, Sussex County, New Jersey

Thanks Morgan & Brenna so much! Right, exactly. Sometimes, “a simple little song is all you need" -- and hard earned deservedly so, as well. Your thoughts here on Silver and Gold have been the "perfect pandemic antidote".

Your line “It’s a message to you through Neil” really, really resonates with us here @ TW. Last night, @ TW HQ, we curled by a nice fire with thrashette and had our own little 'fireside sessions' double feature with the Silver and Gold film stream on NYA. (btw, very unseasonably cold our way too with frost warnings last night?!)

Like we said before, normally we might say something trite like "keep on isolating in the free world"! Except that's really a terrible affirmation since we want everyone free and un-isolated. No "splendid isolation"/anti-social distancing for us, thank you. (DISCLAIMER: proper precautions -- of course -- and we're not suggesting nor advocating reckless, careless behaviors.) So we'll just say once again, Keep Calm, No Fear, Shut It Down, and Keep on Rockin'!

Also, see full article Silver and Gold is Neil Young’s Most Precious Treasure | Talkhouse by Morgan Enos.

Incidentally, we featured another article by Morgan Enos recently How Neil Young's Eccentric Online Home Was Born | Fortune.

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