For our May 2019 session we celebrate Neil Young classic “After The Gold Rush”!
The ’60s were barely over and the ’70s just starting when Neil Young recorded a requiem for the era. The mournful title track to his third album, After the Gold Rush (which was released on Sept. 19, 1970), is ostensibly an ode to the environment, but viewed from other angles, deeper implications surface.
It’s also the end of an early chapter in Young’s career. After breaking from Buffalo Springfield and releasing his debut solo album in 1968, the singer-songwriter would begin what would become the first of many career left turns. On 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, he plugged in and scraped away at the scabs with the young Crazy Horse.
But by the following year, when he was set to make a follow-up LP, he had fired them (but retained a few songs they had already laid down) and retreated to his basement in Topanga, Calif., where he started recording tracks for the follow-up record, a 360-degree turn into acoustic country and folk music with a group of musicians whose approach was a bit more delicate.
Rubbing against the plugged-in numbers left over from the Crazy Horse sessions, the new songs — which featured 18-year-old Nils Lofgren on guitar and piano, an instrument he was mostly unfamiliar with — helped create a ragged and almost disjointed record that’s never quite sure if it’s electric or acoustic, part of the ’60s or part of the ’70s.
And it’s a brilliant juxtaposition, one that gives After the Gold Rush a feeling of frustration and resignation. It’s a romantic album too — the soft “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is a highlight — but the sting of “Southern Man,” which immediately follows in the track listing, tempers the mood.
Time and Date: Sunday May 19th 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Songbyrd, 2477 18th st NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Audio Menu provided by Audioism.
REGA Planar 3 turntable with Elys MM Cartridge, REGA Fono MM Phono Preamp, Audioism MicroZOTL Preamp (David Berning Design), Audioism Venue-Class Playback System, Xcilica HD System Processor, Audioism ZOTL Amplifiers (David Berning Design), Class AB Hybrid Amplification for Subs, WyWires Audio Interconnects