Words by Russell Carstens

Neil Young just can’t stop working. Heck, he even wrote a song about it on his new album, Peace Trail. Guitar leads scream like freight train horns over the tune’s bluesy stomp, and the attitude of Young’s vocal delivery sounds seriously influenced by his friend/peer Jack White. The quietly hopeful title track brings to mind a more electric take on the style of 1992’s Harvest Moon.

On “Show Me,” Young makes it clear he’s not impressed by man’s attempt to tame nature. There’s nothing to be perfected upon, nature already is so. “John Oaks” is a narrative on how, in the modern age, ordinary/mundane situations can quickly turn ugly. On pure vibe alone, “Glass Accident” encourages us to ease into life, suggested by waves of fuzzy guitar, inviting us to ride with the current, not against it. “My New Robot” may be the first Young song that makes listeners guffaw before wondering, “What the hell happened to our privacy?”

Young (especially when backed by Crazy Horse) has always been a master of imperfection, allowing for a loose, warts-and-all approach on his recordings. Aside from the unpleasantly jagged “Texas Rangers,” Peace Trail demonstrates this technique well. Otherwise, the album has Young giving us the world as he sees it, just as he always has. He takes listeners on the musical equivalent of a rollicking, mountainside drive on winding roads. The whole thing leaves you reassured and mellow, yearning to get in touch with nature.


Neil Young
‘Peace Trail’
© December 9th, 2016



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