Neil Young, ‘A Letter Home’

homepage_large.661d1953

Originally released on vinyl for Third Man Records on Record Store Day, the 12-track lo-fi covers album from the Canadian singer-songwriter features songs from such artists as Bob Dylan, The Everly Brothers, Bert Jansch, Willie Nelson, Phil Ochs, and Bruce Springsteen.

Its gloom is potent and pervasive, and, while you’re mired in it, A Letter Home doesn’t seem like a baffling act of wilful perversity. It makes perfect sense, as it presumably does to the man who recorded it.

Without any studio trickery to distract from the songs, versions of Bert Jansch’s Needle of Death and Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind sound particularly affecting.

Accompanied by Jack White, at whose studio he recorded on the Voice-O-Graph, Young sings with a perspective and appreciation that his 68 years undoubtedly bring.

For an album recorded primitively inside a Nashville box, there are some stunning performances on A Letter Home…. Occasionally, though, the recording quality distracts from the album’s content.

Watch Neil recording Needle Of Death here:

Neil Young and Jack White to perform together on ‘The Tonight Show’ next week

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jack White will perform together on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon next week.

The pair will chat to Fallon and perform a song from Young’s new covers album ‘A Letter Home’ on Monday (May 12). Comedian Louis CK will also appear on the episode.

Earlier this year Young released ‘A Letter Home’ on Jack White’s Third Man Records. It features covers of tracks Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Everly Brothers and more. Young recorded the album in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at the Third Man shop in Nashville, Tennessee.

A statement on Young’s website describes the record as: “an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever”.

The ‘A Letter Home’ tracklisting is as follows:

‘Changes’ (Phil Ochs)
‘Girl From The North Country’ (Bob Dylan)
‘Needle of Death’ (Bert Jansch)
‘Early Morning Rain’ (Gordon Lightfoot)
‘Crazy’ (Willie Nelson)
‘Reason To Believe’ (Tim Hardin)
‘On The Road Again’ (Willie Nelson)
‘If You Could Read My Mind’ (Gordon Lightfoot)
‘Since I Met You Baby’ (Ivory Joe Hunter)
‘My Hometown’ (Bruce Springsteen)
‘I Wonder If I Care As Much’ (Everly Brothers)