Our Music Year No. 156: Neil Young and Crazy Horse, ‘Americana’

By From page A7 | June 05, 2013

Artist: Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Title: “Americana”
Year: 2012
Format: Digital (Spotify)
Grade: C+

This is the third in a five-day series of Neil Young reviews.

Neil Young’s 34th studio effort, “Americana,” is a collection of American folk songs. Although the two countries share much in terms of musical heritage, Young, a Canadian, brings an outsider’s perspective to American music, even if we’re splitting hairs.

Young has been an American resident since he was old enough to live up to his last name, but that doesn’t remove the Canadian filter. Woody Guthrie’s refrain, “This land is your land / This land is my land / From California / To the New York islands,” reads like a welcoming greeting to a foreigner rather than a patriotic campfire singalong.

It’s curious that Young renewed work with Crazy Horse for the first time in nearly a decade on this project, ostensibly a passion project to tunes that pre-date Young himself. One wonders how Young’s previous studio effort, the gruff “Le Noise” made with producer Daniel Lanois, might’ve sounded instead with Crazy Horse in tow.

Young and his mates are having fun on “Americana,” but the songs are so well-worn that even joyous readings by Young and Crazy Horse don’t add much that wasn’t already there.

Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.

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