By James Calemine
I just watched Neil Young’s The Times. He released this collection of acoustic solo songs in September 2020 that served as part of his Fireside Sessions in the middle of Covid-19. The recording session transpired from June 19-23, 2020, at his Colorado home.
Young performs most of these songs on the front porch of some rustic cabin. Young’s partner Daryl Hannah filmed these tunes. Niko Bolas–longtime Young engineer–recorded the sessions. Young partnered with Amazon Prime for the premiere of this project.
The tracklist includes “Alabama”, “Campaigner”, “Ohio”, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin’”, “Looking For A Leader”, “Southern Man” and “Little Wing”.
Young performs “The Times They Are A Changin’” in a large teepee with the slogan “Water Is Life”, which promotes The Navajo Water Project. The tunes Young renders for this collection contain a weird isolation he emits so well during lockdown. The Times proves worth seeing. The lo-fi aesthetic reveals Young still operates at a high-level of creativity in the here and now.
By the way, on Friday March 5, 2021, Young released Archives Vol. II: 1972-1976, a 10-CD box set, including 12 unreleased songs and 49 unheard versions of classics from his extensive catalogue. Ol’ Shakey, long may you run…