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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Been down a thousand highways and they're all the same / Another empty place where I can hide my shame
— Steve Earle, Shadowland
February 26, 2006
Neil Young: Heart of Gold

Faced with the rather depressing prospect of a Sharon Stone Triple Bill on Bravo for the evening, I instead fled for the Fifth Avenue Cinema to see the newly released Neil Young: Heart of Gold.

The film was directed by Jonathan Demme and feels much more like his Stop Making Sense concert film than, for example, The Last Waltz which has more of a documentary feeling. It opens with scenes of Neil and his frieds speaking about the concert, thir past and the Ryman Auditorium in Nasville, Tennessee where the Grand Ole Opry was filmed for many years.

Next comes the music.

I only really discovered Neil Young’s music a few years ago, which is surprising because it fits very well into a mold that I’m quite fond of — once best described by a lovely young lady as Anything with a Twang.

Music has a power to move the soul and Neil’s music speaks to a place deep inside. If rock and roll embodies passion and anger, with Punk and Heavy Metal at the cliche extremes and country embodies heartache, with the sanitized sounds of performers like Garth Brooks embracing this cliche wholeheartedly there’s a place in between where music that comes from a deep, honest place.

This is the place that this movie plays from.

The music in the movie lives on a bridge between these genres. Not quite rock and roll, and not quite country it is, simply, amazing music.

With Neil on stage only weeks after having been diagnosed and had surgery for a brain aneurysm, and only two months after his father passed away the pain and anguish he exposes is visible at times. Surrounded by friends and loved ones the songs on the Prairie Wind album come alive.

Emmylou Harris — a woman with a voice so pure it could only come direct from the heavens and a beauty to match — sings backup and accompaniment on many of the numbers here. Emmylou’s last album Stumble Into Grace lived in my ears for a long time after I bought it. Her presence on this stage and in this film could not be more welcome.

As a movie, this fairly straightforward concert film could have been different; I’d like to have seen a bit more of Neil speaking, to get a feeling for his state of mind. even without, it’s a film that’s well worth seeing.

Posted by skooter at 9:19 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Music, Words.

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