Next for Neil Young: American Folk Standards
Call it North Americana.
Toronto native Neil Young is reteaming with Crazy Horse, his on-and-off backing trio for more than 40 years, for an album of American folk standards ranging from “Oh! Susanna” to “Wayfarin’ Stranger.” Due out June 5 via Warner Bros. Records, Americana will feature 11 songs with roots stretching as far back as the 19th century but whose lyrics remain eerily relevant today.
The record, Young’s first with Crazy Horse since 2003’s high-concept Greendale, careens from the campfire chestnut “She’ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain” to Western ballad “Clementine” to a pair of No. 1 hits from 1958: the doo-wop classic “Get a Job” by one-hit wonders The Silhouettes and “Tom Dooley,” a post-Civil War dirge that became the first hit for folk revivalists The Kingston Trio.
“Dooley” is followed on the album by another tale of the condemned: “Gallows Pole,” which has been recorded by such legends as Lead Belly, Bob Dylan and, most famously, Led Zeppelin.
The album’s “This Land Is Your Land,” penned by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and widely covered since, includes two “deleted verses” and features Stephen Stills, with whom Young, 66, first teamed in Buffalo Springfield during the 1960s.
The Americana cover art is a 1905 photo of Geronimo driving a car with three passengers. In 1975, artist Tom Wilkes covered the subjects’ faces with shots of Young and Crazy Horse -- bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina and guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro – for a planned LP jacket that was never used. Saved from a 2010 warehouse fire, the art is making its album-cover debut 37 years later.
Produced by Young and John Hanlon with Mark Humphreys, Americana is Young’s first album since 2010’s Le Noise. He and Crazy Horse, whose lineup has remained intact since 1974, have made a dozen studio and live albums together since 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The band also has played on most of Young’s solo records and toured with him extensively, but no live dates supporting the new album have been announced.
Here is the Americana track list:
“Get a Job”
“High Flyin’ Bird”
“She'll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain”
“This Land Is Your Land”
“God Save the Queen”