Music » Livewire

Neil Young, with the Pretenders and Tegan and Sara

Tuesday, August 29, at Blossom


Neil Young has been called "The Godfather of Grunge," but "The Godfather of Unpredictability" would suit him better. In the late '70s, for example, Young released Rust Never Sleeps, a critical and commercial success, and then followed it up with Hawks & Doves, a collection of recording session outtakes. He'll often be rumored to be working on a project guaranteed to knock the socks off his fans, then scrap the whole thing at the eleventh hour and release an experiment in rockabilly or smooth jazz. Young caught the public off guard once again this spring with Silver and Gold. His first studio album in four years, it followed three hard-rocking albums and wasn't even a typical Neil Young soft record, either. Whereas Bob Dylan looked at middle age with regrets and apprehension on 1997's Time Out of Mind, Young, 54, celebrates all that for which he's thankful. No soldiers cutting us down. No junkies too weak to work. No welfare mothers at every laundromat. Rather, the songs on Silver and Gold convey peace of mind and satisfaction with life. Young will be bringing his Silver and Gold band -- steel guitarist Ben Keith, bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, pianist Spooner Oldham, and drummer Jim Keltner -- to the Blossom show. Middle-aged country gals Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt sang backup on the album, but at Blossom he'll have sister Astrid and wife Pegi doing the chores. And who did Young pick to warm up the crowd for all this sweetness and light? The hard-rocking Pretenders, which once again proves that he's impossible to predict.

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