Surprise! Here’s a bonus post this week celebrating the seventieth birthday of Neil Young- my absolute favourite artist of all time. Is this man really still going? Of course. He’s unstoppable.
Young was born in Toronto in 1945 but moved to Omemee, ON and Winnipeg, MA during childhood. When he was a bit older he moved to Yorkville and took the music scene by storm as well as California where he was able to start Buffalo Springfield and his music career sky-rocketed. He has worked with the likes of Rick James, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Emmylou Harris and many, many more.
Young’s career is extensive both musically and politically. He has given us some of the best songs out there in the last few decades, has reinvented how we listen to music with the Pono player and has become a strong advocate for environmental and civil change.
Environmentally, Young has done a great deal to ‘walk the walk’. As a co-founder of Farm Aid, he, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellancamp and a slew of guest performers put on an annual show each year to support local, sustainable farming. He has also put on several benefit concerts towards environmental causes including his Honour the Treaties tour which protested the oil sands and a tour with Willie Nelson protesting the Keystone Pipeline. Each were excellent examples of peaceful protest. Even his latest album, The Monsanto Years, tackles this difficult political issue.
Speaking on civil rights is something Young has never been afraid to do. From songs like Southern Man to Pocahontas, Young isn’t afraid to call out the governmental who’s who on their wrongs or to make any listener question they’re behaviour. Time and again he is the one who stands up.
What it really comes down to is Young’s music. Whether you agree with his views or not, Young is a national treasure and his music is home to some incredibly far-reaching emotions. Live, he’ll send shivers up your spine. Recorded, he makes you think and feel all kinds of things. Give it a listen.
Happy Birthday Old Man! Thanks for your work.