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Neil Young - Prairie Wind Review

by Zane Ewton

Neil Young has a long and celebrated history of walking the line between tender acoustic country-rock and the dirty rock and roll he lays down with Crazy Horse. Both styles are done effortlessly by Young and have given us simply some of the greatest songs ever recorded.

Prairie Wind lies on the mellower side of the Neil Young canon. Not an instant classic like Harvest but still the best record he has done since his early 90's emergence as the Godfather of grunge. (A title that underserved his status as a timeless recording artist)

Young has dealt with some disastrous personal problems since his last record including suffering a brain aneurysm and the loss of his father. The man has chosen to age gracefully though and Prairie Wind finds him in a sentimental mood. Young's voice is in fine form backed by several studio hotshots, including everyone's favorite country-rock accessory Spooner Oldham.

If any argument can bema de against Prairie Wind it would be that it is too smooth. A little sandpaper around the edges would have added some depth to the weaker tracks. However, there are not many weak tracks to be found. Highlights include "The Painter", Young in falsetto mode on "Falling off the Face of the Earth", the bluesy title track and album closer "When God Made me".

Young's songs have always been rich with imagery and beautiful melodies, no exceptions here. It is quite astounding that the 60 year-old still has a wealth of music within him and remains a vital artist. Few at his status can rely on much besides overblown tours with overpriced tickets to maintain their role as legends. Neil Young just keeps quietly making great records.

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