Neil Young | Silver & Gold – Lost Gem

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On the heels of the congenial reunion he had with Crosby, Stills and Nash in 2000, Neil Young released Silver & Gold, his 23rd solo release that figured is as an acoustic cousin of Harvest and Harvest Moon. An artist who never ceases to evolve while staying true to his roots, Young buckled down for one of his most reflective and personal albums. This is the mellow side of Neil with an eloquent shine, sustained by his own brand of intensity and poignancy.

It’s hard to resist the country-flavored simplicity of songs like “Red Sun” and “Distant Camera.” Like most of the material here, they flow effortlessly with little pretense. Then there’s “Buffalo Springfield Again,” an ode to Young’s distant past, where he sheds no blame and hints of things to come (the group did reunite for a few shows in 2010). With an acoustic guitar and some spiraling notes on his harmonica, “Good To See You” opens the album on a very positive note. Targeted at his audience as well as his family, here is a song ingrained with the sort of feel-good quality that would struggle for identity in this day and age. The title track, “Silver And Gold,” along such fare as “The Great Divide” and “Without Rings,” is reminiscent of the Comes A Time album — a down-home love song that “never seems to get old, it’s better than silver and gold…”

With long-time collaborator, steel guitarist andStray Gator, Ben Keith, on board as well as support from such heavies as Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Duck Dunn and Jim Keltner, Silver & Gold placed Neil Young at a juncture in his career where he is finally coming to terms with who and what he is. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the album is a concise and stylish document dedicated to his wife at the time, Pegi and inspired by his son, Ben. It’s almost as if the outside world received an invitation to step into the man’s backyard. With Young, however, one should never get too comfortable. Young would venture off into another direction with subsequent albums, and the elegance and sentimentality would be sidelined for the next few years.

~ Shawn Perry


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