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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Sep 8th, 2016

Neil Young and Promise of the Real: Earth

earthNeil Young and Promise of the Real
Earth
(Reprise)

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Neil Young and Promise of the Real recorded the two-disc set Earth on their Rebel Content Tour in 2015. It’s a 13-song live collection that Young describes as “songs I have written about living here on our planet together.” Along with the country-rock instrumental backing, one hears nature, animal, and insect sounds – leave it to Neil Young to still be pushing the sonic envelope, though offering lyrical ideas he’s mined too many times before. The droning “Mother Earth” opens with frogs and harmonica, slips and slides with a mournful harmonium sound, generally setting us up to the melancholy plea for our planet. “My Country Home,” with its tumbling, loose drums and “Western Hero,” a nice swaying cowboy tune, come in here, as does a harmony-rich “After the Gold Rush.” The audience reaction alone proves this chestnut is a worthy inclusion. Passing traffic sounds begin the first tune on disc two, the raucous, electric (and quite messy) “Big Box.” There’s snapping snare, megaphoned backing vocals, and Young’s usual struggle-with-guitar-leading on this close to ten-minute declaration. ”Wolf Moon” proves Young can still bring it when he wants, on this nice, slow acoustic, banjo, harmonica, and call-out song with sweet imagery-based lyrics. This may be the best tune across these two discs. Young is not playing coy with Earth. He and Promise of the Real are smacking the listener upside the head with the point of these two dics, and if you are of a mind, you might just like being preached to.

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Neil Young and Promise of the Real: Earth