Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Songs of the Season, Part 24

Looking out my window at the strange, dark clouds floating over the city, I'm reminded of my favorite Neil Young song, which comes from my favorite Neil Young album, On the Beach. I'm sure I would find that After the Gold Rush, Harvest, and Rust Never Sleeps are all about as good as On the Beach if I were ever to them, but this is the only one I've ever bothered to buy, so it's my favorite.

This song makes me think of that feeling you get when a big storm is moving in. First you feel a cold breeze, then you see those black clouds moving in over the horizon like some kind of army of darkness, and you start to feel this electricity in the air as you hear the distant rumble of thunder. The hair on your neck is practically standing up. I've never experienced this out here, but back east I experienced it plenty of times, and it's one of my favorite meteorological phenomena.

The heavily reverbed Rhodes piano on this track seems an odd fit with the steel guitar and the Nashville sound of everything else, and adds another layer to the image it conjures up, makes me think the coming storm is occurring at sunset so that the clouds all shimmer with a strange orange glow. Maybe this arrangement isn't as odd as it appears. It sounds more familiar than it should. Could you go back and find other examples of 70's country records with heavy electric piano? The Drive-By Truckers used a similar sound on "Check Out Time in Vegas."


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