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: