This Old Guitar
Juno Awards: Adult Alternative Album of the Year (number: 2006)
en: Prairie Wind [info]
Old age isn't making Neil Young any easier to second guess, but the personal traumas of the last couple of years (death of his father and a brain aneurysm) certainly seem to have focussed the wayward canuck again. Whereas 2003's Greendale gave us woolly polemic wrapped in dreary arrangements, Prairie Wind gives us sweet pedal steel-driven songs and the plush sheen of Nashville's finest (Spooner Oldham, Ben Keith etc.) effectively completing his acoustic Harvest trilogy.
It's an album about looking back, coming to terms with mortality ("Falling Off The Face Of The Earth","When God Made Me") and reflecting on childhood roots ("Prairie Wind"). While the arrangements often seem cloying, especially in the vocal accompaniment, the songs at least return to the simple acoustic heartland that lies at the centre of some of Young's best work. They're not unlike the rolling prairies he sings of. Thankfully, after ten years it sounds like Neil's come home again.