Neil Young and Patti Smith, Prolific Writers

I have discovered a music, social activism and journalism synergy  between Patti Smith and Neil Young.  Each is a respected cultural icon with a distinct style  and loyal fan bases. Its magical when their artistic muses intersect.

Copyright Kate Simon 1979

Both have new studio albums coming out on the same day this year, June 5th, 2012. Patti Smith will release Banga on Columbia Records on June 5th.  The last song on Banga is Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” which sews the Patti Smith and Neil Young tapestry closer together.

On June 5th, Neil Young & Crazy Horse will release a very special album titled AMERICANA, which is the first Neil Young & Crazy Horse recording in nearly nine years.

AMERICANA is a collection of classic, American folk songs. In their day, some of these may have been referred to as “protest songs”, “murder ballads”, or campfire-type songs passed down with universal, relatable tales for everyman!

  1.       Oh Susannah
  2.       Clementine
  3.       Tom Dula
  4.       Gallows Pole
  5.       Get A Job
  6.       Travel On
  7.       High Flyin’ Bird
  8.       Jesus’ Chariot
  9.       This Land Is Your Land
  10.       Wayfarin’ Stranger
  11.       God Save The Queen

Patti Smith performed at the Music of Neil Young  at Carnegie Hall in New York City to pay tribute to the legendary 50-year, 34-album career of Neil Young.

Patti Smith, with her daughter Jesse on grand piano, stood at the mic, hands behind her back, and recited “It’s a Dream,” a spare tune of simple emotion from Young’s 2005 album Prairie Wind, which he wrote after his father’s death, with a nod to his own brush with mortality from a brain aneurysm. It’s a song of retrospection and appreciation, with Young revisiting his boyhood in Ontario and celebrating life’s little beauties, like the sound of the birds in the morning, and holding his wife in bed at night. Smith choked up, missing a verse. When she continued, the crowd carried her on their cheers. Now that’s a tribute.

Patti Smith has established herself as an award-winning author with the book, Just Kids which won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2010.

BookExpo America announced that Neil Young will speak June 6 (the day after Americana is released…) about his upcoming memoir on Blue Rider Press, “Waging Heavy Peace”. Young will speak on stage at the Jacob Javits Center with an interviewer to be named later. One interviewer possibility: Stephen Colbert, who has interviewed Young on his Comedy Central show and is already a featured speaker at BookExpo

“I felt like writing books fit me like a glove; I started and I just kept going,” Young said.

Neil Young’s Greatest Hits

I find myself reaching for Neil Young’s Greatest Hits recording  due to the simplicity of how it is put together.

Neil Young was methodical in his approach to his greatest hits. He long resisted the urge of Reprise Records to publish a greatest hits recording until 2004.   The sequence of his hits has such a natural, evolutionary flow. It’s a prime example of how effortless a greatest hits recording should be for the listener.

I can’t wait to play it again on the way home from work today 🙂

Let’s Join Neil Young and Occupy Audio Now!

Thank God we have Neil Young to champion the cause of high-resolution audio.

MP3 files suck! They are compressed on the top and bottom, as well as on the sides. They damage our ears because they are shrill. Mp3 in my estimation, is a bastardization of sound. We shouldn’t have to settle or pay for such inferior sound.

The use in MP3 of a lossy compression algorithm is designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent the audio recording and still sound like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio for most listeners. An MP3 file that is created using the setting of 128 kbit/s will result in a file that is about 1/11 the size[note 1] of the CD file created from the original audio source.

Why in calendar year, 2012 do we continue to “compromise”  our listening needs with Mp3 audio?

As Neil  Young says, “Comes A Time“, take a look at the Neil Young Archives Volume 1 on Blue Ray and DVD audio.

Then notice how much we lose with MP3 versus what high-resolution provides the audio experience.

So we the music consumer must Occupy Audio Now!

“Occupy Audio We want the 95%. This is the 21st Century. We need to take our tones back. Give your fans what YOU hear. Figure out a way to do it. MP3 audio is the new radio. It should be free like radio. Our record companies need to deliver what we are making the way we hear it. Put pressure on them. Our music loving listeners deserve the best. Sell quality. It is possible. We can do it. Now is the time. Don’t be a slave to the Media corporations. Change what they are doing. Give your audience what YOU hear. Let them FEEL it. GIVE YOUR FANS A CHOICE. Thanks for listening.”

Buffalo Springfield Reunion Concerts

Buffalo Springfield (album)
Image via Wikipedia

Last year at Pegi and Neil Young‘s annual Bridge School Benefit we witnessed the reformation of Buffalo Springfield live on stage. The success of that reunion has forged an understanding with original members, Richie Furay, Stephen Stills and Neil Young to take the act on the road. (There will be an extensive fall four-month tour, as I set my radar screen for concerts in my market.). The results of the sound and co-operation are amazingly fresh in sharp contrast to the time that has passed since Buffalo Springfield once existed 43 years ago in 1968. There is something to be said for the continuity of the music of the heart when artists re-establish the foundation of a muse.

Rolling Stone Magazine is serving as a definitive source for information about the Buffalo Springfield reunion and related tour. The publication is providing well written, albeit exciting coverage about this seminal rock and roll band. I refer you to the Buffalo Springfield Launch First Tour in 43 Years article written by David Fricke. From there you can link back to the Bridge School coverage and the February 10th announcement about Buffalo Springfield’s first 11 concert dates.

Bridge School Benefit

Fox Theater, June 1, 2011, Oakland, California

Photo by Jay Blakesberg for RollingStone.com