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Wednesday, November 03, 2021

UPDATED: New BARN Video + Neil's Message + 1st IMPRESSIONS: "Heading West" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse from Upcoming Album BARN

NYA | Times-Contrarian 

We interrupt  our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical" here at Thrasher's Wheat, with  an update on a new song from BARN --  the upcoming album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse -- "Heading West" which is previewing now on Neil Young Archives.

Here is Neil Young's latest message on NYA's front page (November 4th): "authenticity whatever it takes." (Thanks Dionys!)


Every time we put out a record, there are many folks who share their opinions, feelings and thoughts. I love that they are there and involved. Some yearn for the hard core rock and roll Crazy Horse has lived. Some are into the ballads and easy refections on life that come along occasionally. But all are interested in what we have to offer each time we put out some new music. That is a gift I am thankful for.

All of BARN is real. It came from the heart. We may have cried after some takes…… in happiness… in elation…. A band of brothers, we have all known one another since our beginnings. We made ‘Only love can break your Heart’ and ‘Southern Man’ on the same album. We made ‘Round and Round’ and ‘Down by the River’ on the same album. We made “Don’t forget about Love’ and ‘Human Race’ on the same album. Welcome Back. It’s not the same.

Barn may be our best album ever. [ed: emphasis added]

Well.  Certainly words that will be debated long after we're all gone, for sure.  Just judging by some the comments here on TW, it's almost like a pre-emptive move before the doubters, complainers and grifters emerge.  Oh wait... they already have begun to sharpen their knives based on a single track ... 

 Neil Young / Crazy Horse - Heading West (Official Audio)


Neil Young / Crazy Horse - Heading West (Official Video) | NYA


Last month, as a first impression of BARN --  the upcoming album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse -- some 21st century rusty readers were underwhelmed by the gentle, mellow calming gorgeousness of "Song Of The Seasons".  (More on our thoughts on SotS on Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast - Episode #11)  Or maybe they were expecting a full blown, raw, crunchy barn burner Crazy Horse rocker jam out!?  Reportedly, the album BARN will contain extended epic sonic jams.

 by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
"10 new songs that capture the raw, idiosyncratic rock and roll spirit and lyrical beauty that epitomizes a classic NYCH collaboration. Recorded this summer under a full moon, in a restored off-grid 19th century barn high up in the Rockies, the Horse was right at home and the album’s stunning love songs, reflective ballads and powerhouse rockers naturally burst into life."

What a great ride with the Horse on this one! Larry Cragg had my guitar sounding so alive.

My mom and I travelled across the country together, heading west. She was on her way back home to start over. I was on my way there with her. Here’s a song about me and my mom and those ‘growing up’ times. It’s so great to remember her this way!

by Neil Young & Crazy Horse  

And here's a long time TW reader/supporter first impressions on "Heading West" by Thos:

I’ll leave the philosophising to you lot!

Just wanted to say I think Heading West is the best, and most honest, thing Neil has recorded in ages, probably since Le Noise. [ed: emphasis added]

Whilst issues such as genetically modified wheat and protecting the environment are absolutely crucial, I’m not always convinced they make great songwriting material.

Inspired to get a great guitarist like Nils in and put him to work on piano and accordion! Can’t wait to hear the full album.


Thank you so much for your thoughts, contributions and steadfastness in these times of darkness on seas of madness, Thos. 


by Neil Young & Crazy Horse  

And here's another long time TW reader/supporter first impressions on "Heading West" by Dan:

I really like ‘Heading West’ a lot, and I can hear the Horse taking this song to the stratosphere when they play it live. 

This has the potential to be a long jam in concert, and I hope I get the chance to get that experience. The short running time leaves me wishing it was longer which is a very good sign. 

Once again,  What exactly does an artist owe to their audience? As Dionys commented in response to the initial lukewarm reactions for SotS:

"Nobody ever said to Van Gogh: 'Paint the Starry Nights again'" (Joni Mitchell on Miles of Aisles)."


"The film of the same title - BARN captures this legendary band in their element - in the wild, their easy humor, their brotherhood, their humanity, and of course, the music, live, recorded in their unique spontaneous way. A Blu-ray of the film directed by Daryl Hannah, will be available as a stand-alone release."

This subject of "what an artist owes to their audiences" (& see Artists who challenge their audiences) has been a long running passion here @TW over the decades. and it will become even more pertinent as time marches ahead relentlessly and predictably. 

Produced by The Volume Dealers – Neil Young and Niko Bolas, the album will be available on vinyl (special edition), CD, cassette and Deluxe Box set. The special edition vinyl contains 6 behind-the-scenes photographs from the Barn sessions. Available as a numbered first pressing, the Deluxe Box set contains the special edition LP, CD and Blu-ray of the film Barn.
(Watch out for The Greedy Hand)


So will BARN be another FITR?  Who knows, of course. Looking back at FITR in 2009, we here @ TW were so stunned and ecstatic to hear lines so close to our hearts ("keep on bloggin' til the power goes out/batteries dead") that little else mattered.  And we still crank FITR on our road trips to this very day.

Thank you Dionys, Dan and so many others for being here and keeping the neil-rust conversations burning during our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical"!

Read more on an artist who challenges his audience,  commentary and Greendale reviews. It'll be like deja vu all over again.  Also, see more on obligations to audiences on Artistic Freedom and Commerce.

You either "get Neil" or you don't.  it's really that simple. and yes everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on all things always ...  

"Just Singing A Song Won't Change The World" -
Neil Young
Deja Vu Press Conference - Berlin, February, 2008
(See more on 1st IMPRESSIONS: "Song Of The Seasons" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse)

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At 11/04/2021 01:44:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Song of the Seasons and Heading West have grown on me a lot. The opening track somehow seems like a relative of Heart of Gold to me thematically. Like a bookend, different parts of a journey. Young was “gettin’ old” when he did Harvest. He was alone in those years, and he had already been everywhere.”

In contrast now, he literally is Old, but he has his Love with him, and they could go anywhere. It’s We, not me.

Neil Young still has it. I take great comfort in the evidence presented in these 2 songs. Neil Young and Crazy Horse can still do new & innaresting stuff.

Johnny Cash did some of his best stuff in his final decade of recording. I was there snapping up those albums as they came out. Johnny Cash sang like God. And as the years and his illness brutalized his body, he laid down the tracks anyway (Thank you Rick Rubin!).

There were some JC fans who knew he had lost it. And others knew he had found it, at last, even tho he started out quite well in music. He had a long career, so many records. Some were great, others sucked, depending on who was doing the judging. But those American Records albums are his career masterpieces. 40 years after started his career. Neil, 50+ years in, may be on a roll here. Take notice.

I feel really sorry for the Neil Young fan who “knows that Neil hasn’t done shit since album X came out.” He clearly had lost it. TFA, right? Wait, what? Reactor? Le Noise. FitR? Two of Neil’s best “Barn Burners” in the last 30 years are Johnny Magic and Fuel Line. Those songs F’ing Rock! And Light a Candle. A song that could lift you up through decades of hard times. A reason to believe. When Worlds Collide. Strange things happen, when opinions judge. These are great songs. I did find the album slapdash at first listen. The 2 week album. But I’ll be darned if there wasn’t a lot more treasure in there than I noticed at first.

We don’t all like the same albums. Some say Silver & Gold was tops in the last few decades. Others may have found it boring at times. It grows on me. Even some Harvest Moon songs sounded too simple and derivative to me upon first live listen. “He’s ripping himself off!” Neil answers, “It’s all one song.”

We are a diverse bunch. We can be hard to please. We don’t agree on what his best albums are. My top 10 is way different than yours, & everyone else’s. And it’s ok. It’s all right.

But I hope you don’t judge these new songs too harshly. You might realize later you were wrong, in your own eyes. But a bunch of my like-minded friends who frequent this righteous blog, we get to have it, to hear it, and love it. We know we are drinking in the nectar of the Gods. Neil and the Muse met up under the full moon and made some great music!

“Heading West” thematically in literature also refers to moving onwards to Death, the End. The setting sun. I am so grateful that, today, my favorite artist continues to thrill me, even as he confounds and disappoints a few other folks.

Hang in there. Be safe. Be well. This world is in rough shape. But don’t fail to notice the beauty we still have, in nature, in Art.

Alan in Seattle

At 11/04/2021 06:32:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

When you are young heading west is a metaphor to make out for a future where the "pavement turns to sand", when you are old it is a metaphor to walk into the past. For the European the cowboy riding into the sunset always was a very ambivalent motive... How could the American hero be so sure of his own immortality?

My old friend Franz K. summed it up in "A Little Fable":
>> "Alas", said the mouse, "the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I am running into."

"You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up.<<

The rest is a sardonic smile lingering where everybody used to be. And if you are lucky a good story to tell and that's what songs are about, I guess. All this with a pre-emptive excuse to Thos.

At 11/04/2021 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

To Alan & Dionys,

You are two examples of what makes this blog so wonderful, insightful, and inspiring. Thank you both for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us all here on Thrashers Wheat. I admire your passion and integrity you both consistently bring to the conversation. There are so many others that contribute here that I feel the same way towards, and I’m grateful to be part of such a wonderful group of people. We’re all unique individuals who share a connection with a particular artist that has made our lives just a little better over the years, and although we’re all different in so many ways, we are kindred spirits who inspire each other.

Peace 🙏

At 11/04/2021 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

I feel really sorry for the Neil Young fan who “knows that Neil hasn’t done shit since album X came out.” He clearly had lost it. - I can understand that comment and can't recall his last great album perhaps PP ? Each fan has their view on what's great and what's not - we over analyse his music and at times dig too deep - perhaps an indicator of the impact of the internet everyone has an opinion right or wrong - agree or disagree, but let's not kid ourselves that in these advanced years we are all looking for the last great album and BARN is not it. For me it's all very average.

At 11/04/2021 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Andy: I’m glad you’re here for balance, and I genuinely appreciate your input.

Peace 🙏

At 11/04/2021 10:52:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Alan & Dionys - what Dan said. Dan perfectly captures the way we feel.

In our own difficult days of a "unplanned/forced sabbatical", the thoughts, contributions and steadfastness of our commentators here make it all more bearable.

TW is our (& yours) sanctuary in these times of darkness on seas of madness.

Thanks for caring and sharing. But most of all, thanks for being here, loving the music and keeping it all flowing.


At 11/04/2021 12:55:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

NY fans here tend to analyze the songs and deconstruct the jams etc but for me his music has always been about his voice and the feeling in his singing. His last release, "Carnegie Hall", really drove that point home for me. Every word he sang is so full of feeling it's like hearing all those songs I know by heart for the first time. So priceless.

I can't listen to anything released after Psychedelic Pill because in my opinion his voice is shot or maybe he's deaf or not trying to sing nice any more. His voice has always been famously polarizing but I've long thought it was so cool and so beautiful but his albums in the last ten years have just sounded awful to me because of how he sings now. He sounds so abrasive that after a few songs I have to play something old just to try to remember what I liked about him. I hate to be mean but he should just give it up or at least release an instrumental version of all his new albums.

Or better yet, drop it down an octave like how he sang on Sleeps With Angels, Mirror Ball, Broken Arrow, Silver and Gold, and Are You Passionate. I loved those albums for his new lower singing tone.

At 11/04/2021 12:55:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

It has been a fascinating experience, so far, to hear the pieces of Barn slowly reveal themselves. Based on these two alone, it sounds like a dynamic range of styles and moods. Some of the as-yet unreleased titles are intriguing. "Canerican"? If that doesn't raise a smile, I'm not sure what would.

However... Two songs are not enough to judge Barn's "greatness" or lack thereof. While there's something to be said for moderating one's expectations, I wouldn't rush to assess Barn in its entirety. Imagine if the first song you heard from Stars 'n' Bars was Saddle up the Palomino--I suspect it would give a different impression as opposed to Hurricane or Will to Love. How many people dropped the needle on Neil's first record, listened to The Emperor of Wyoming, and thought "This guy is really going places!"?

The point is, regardless of marketing wisdom, I hesitate to take any single as a representative sample of its parent album. An album, by nature of its form, functions as a whole--not just the sum of its parts. Abner and I have been down this road before, but I do think there is a distinction, at least from the listener's point of view, between these two. A distinction that's only possible--or conceivable--in subjective experience. If that makes any sense.


At 11/04/2021 03:10:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

"I am listenin' to Neil Young. Someone's always yelling Turn It Down!" (Bob Dylan, Highlands, Time Out of Mind, 1997) That was way before PP and with a lot to come for the NY fan yet. And anyway: Bob Dylan couldn't sing himself when he got started (if you believe his lifelong critics). But I agree "Carnegie Hall" reminds us of this unique voice in 1970 and it takes some effort to recognize it's the same person's voice that can be heard in "Song of the Seasons". But why would someone want it to be different? There are so many early recordings out there (and I own a lot of them) that I could go to immerse myself in that for days if not weeks.

My other friend's (Bertolt Brecht) take on this:

Meeting Again

A man who had not seen Mr. K. for a long time greeted him with the words: "You haven't changed a bit." "Oh!", said Mr. K. and turned pale.

Recently our newspaper published a long essay about supposedly grown-up children who deny their parent's right to make changes to their household or their everyday routines because it used to be their (the children's) childhood home. Now that's a dwarfy attitude right out of Snow White.

At 11/04/2021 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I have always felt that music is the most powerful and universal form of art that we humans have ever managed to develop. One can be transported in so many different ways, or be moved to tears by a simple turn of a phrase. A melody can get stuck in your head, or in your heart in such wonderful, magical ways. The art of giving birth to a song is an extraordinary gift that many of us aren’t capable of doing, so we admire those who can. Neil has been at it now for a very long time, and I have been blessed to grow old with him.

There are very few artists that can maintain a level of creativity for as many decades as Neil has, and most of his contemporaries have been far less successful. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve managed to find great joy in each and every album Neil has ever released, with some obviously more so than others. But every album has had elements that are undeniably Neil Young, and I find that to be incredibly satisfying. Despite the twists and turns through all these decades, he has always managed to surprise and infuriate his fans. I can’t imagine him being anything other than unapologetically Neil, and that is exactly what makes him so special.

Peace 🙏

At 11/04/2021 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Happy Andy said...

The resident troll is back. You suck the joy out of the world. This I’m a fan BUT nonsense irritates the he’ll out of me. Your opinion is wrong. Some people reckon Paul McCartbey hasn’t made a decent album since Please Please Me. Get over yourself. Go listen to John Denver.

At 11/04/2021 04:26:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Check out Neil's latest message on NYA's front page (November 4th), authenticity whatever it takes.

At 11/04/2021 05:19:00 PM, Blogger ww said...

Love the fuzz..

At 11/04/2021 06:55:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

The idea that an album is a sum of its parts is not very promising, as Meta-Rocker commented. Every song will itself be evaluated and understood in its relationship to the other songs, properties of the music emerge from the whole (from relations). Of course, some albums have little or no cohesion and so nothing really emerges and so the album sucks as a whole (or is just "the sum of its parts" or a "mass of music"). Individual songs can form their own unity, etc.., but the point is that it is a mistake to even begin a judgment of the album as isolated parts (like thinking of a mammal x as a lung and an arm). Frankly, I believe that music reviewers these days often do judge albums as an assemblage of multiple songs and are generally oblivious to the issue of the unity of a whole (witness a lot of the nonsense written about Greendale). Dan has made a subtle point about music, which I admit I do not fully understand, namely the nature of its parts in relation to the whole. Oh, and by the way, Meta-Rocker, I spend many a day whistling (or what might pass as whistling) to The Emperor of Wyoming!! I missed a lot in the last few days, I have been spending a lot of time outside, avoiding work. Reminds me of my delinquent youth.

At 11/04/2021 09:22:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Every junkie’s like a setting sun.

At 11/04/2021 09:32:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

And all that before the album has even come out! You have heard 2 songs and you already know this album is not the one. It’s dark in there. Light a Candle.

You can say the feelings gone….. to gaze with disappointment, one looks through their own lens.

At 11/04/2021 09:48:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Good insights.

I can’t help but think of Jim Morrison. “The West is the Best…”.

I wish the future of Earth looked more optimistic.

At 11/04/2021 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Your supportive words are much appreciated Dan. So many contributors, like a fresh water stream, flowing into a clean, healthy pond (as in the video). I liked what you said about the Artist who has made our lives a little better. As this new album heads our way, I am feeling like NY has made my life a “lot” better, to varying degrees through the decades. But we are all on the same page, in the same realm. Our Passion burns brightly even in trying times. Your optimism raises all of us up. Alan in Seattle

At 11/04/2021 10:34:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

The greatest site on the internet is a lot more than that! Much gratitude!

At 11/04/2021 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Bravo! I love it!

At 11/04/2021 10:47:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Good on ya!

At 11/04/2021 11:25:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Neil Young is basically asking us to remind him of the lost nuggets that he might not be thinking of including on NYA 3, 4, and maybe NYA 1, 2.0. I cannot wait to hear the CH version of Hard Luck Stories in the studio. And the other songs. I still want Trocadero ‘97 in an official release! Barefoot Floors “floors” me. Amazing. So good.

At 11/04/2021 11:55:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

What do the Naysayers think of Carnival? What a brilliant, perfect song.

Of course Neil’s voice isn’t as gorgeous as it once was. Nobody is in denial of the fact that our favorite Old Man Artist is… older. Yes, We have heard him reach for notes and come up short. But Neil Young is such a powerhouse musician, songwriter, singer…. He is not done. This is not blind nostalgia. Although we get to enjoy the past and really take a journey through it, as we wish. So many great albums, studio, live. Carnegie ‘70 is just the latest piece of the puzzle. Much more to come! Mountains of audio treasure! Bring it on. Slow and steady. Thank you Neil!

At 11/05/2021 06:47:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

Gijsbert Hanekroot, the photographer of the "Tonight's the Night" cover and acompanying art work put out a great collection of Neil Young and CSNY b/w photographs. More barners and other Neil Young devotees might wanna check it out:

Great photography!

At 11/05/2021 01:51:00 PM, Blogger Seamus Mc Donnell said...

Can't wait for this. Much needed.the healing hands of NY and the Horse.bring it on.

At 11/08/2021 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I said way too much the last time I posted. I only meant to say that one important way to understand and judge the songs is through the unity of the whole that they create or do not create. And then I also tried to express some of my own lack of knowledge- I mean I don't think I understand music well enough to comprehend unity. I think I get more of a sense of things. On the Beach is, from my way of hearing and comprehending, a deeply coherent expression of a cultural nihilism. Neil was exposing it while, in a way, embracing it in the songs. Damn interesting album. I think I am beginning to feel some relationship between these two new songs.

At 11/08/2021 01:57:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Abner, Welcome to my world, lol. I always write too much. Certainly agree on getting a feeling for these two songs side-by-side. They are the first two on the album and we can now listen to them as such.

For me, Song of the Seasons in particular is overflowing with emotions and sensitive images… the rhythm of horses’ hooves as inspiration for Neil’s quietly shuffling melodies (Seasons isn’t the first of this sort) makes a world of sense. It also functions at meta levels, since this is a Horse record. I also have to defend Neil’s vocal a bit on this particular track. In spite of some unfair complaints about his voice showing its wear and tear, he clearly has a great feeling for these words and sings accordingly, delivering a strikingly clean, earnest, delicately emotive vocal that works gracefully with his now-slightly-lower range.

At this stage, I’m more than open to the upcoming album. Song of the Seasons may not be perfect—but it is one of Neil’s more touching, lyrical songs to come along in a while (showing his “heart of gold” indeed). And I say this as a noted advocate of his work with the Real, particularly Visitor and Earth. Song of the Seasons suggests Neil is taking the best of that influence and melding it with the moods and sounds of the Horse. This song is a good sign for things to come.

At 11/09/2021 09:18:00 AM, Blogger edtide said...

Has anyone heard anything about TOAST? I thought i twas getting released towards the end of the year....or is my memory merely wishful thinking?

God bless

At 11/09/2021 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Neil says 2022.


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Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

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