Tag Archives: Neil Young

To Live Without My Music…

…would, as the song says, be impossible to do.

Besides writing and reading, the one thing I love to do most in the world is listen to music – and create some of my own, at times, when I feel like dusting off my old guitar and tuning up the vocal cords – and, some time ago, I sat down to make a list of songs I love, and why I love them.

I never got around to sharing it on the blog, for one reason or another (*ahem baby*) but I thought this might be an opportune time to give you all some listening pleasure, as well as an insight into my life – for what better way is there to crowbar open someone’s mind than to have a look at the music which has shaped them? (Well. You could look at the books which have shaped them, but you’re sick of reading about my favourite books, so…)

The Song I Listen to When I Miss Home

Helpless – Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young. This version is a live one, performed by Neil Young and the Band, the night of the Last Waltz. I can’t explain why – as I’m not from Ontario, nor anywhere near it – but this song screams ‘home’ to me. It has, like all of my beloved music, a lot to do with my dad.

The Song Which Means the Most to Me

I hesitate to say ‘favourite song’, because I love so many that I can never truly have a favourite. This one is up there with many others, including Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, and it will always occupy a central spot in my heart. It’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes? by the irreplaceable, unmistakable Sandy Denny.

The Song Which Sings Freedom

Years ago I worked in a job I didn’t like much. Every day at 1 pm, I would be released for lunch and I had Nick Drake’s album Five Leaves Left in my CD walkman (oh, how cool I was!) This track, Time Has Told Me, was the first one, and I can’t hear its opening notes, even now, without thinking of freedom and a weight lifting off my shoulders.

The Song I Have Listened to Most Often

In my final year in university, one album got me through a very tough time. I lost a lot of friends, I faced tough exams, and I struggled with a lot of personal issues, and I had Jeff Buckley’s Grace on almost permanent repeat. So, any of the songs on that album would do as my ‘most listened’… but the title track, Grace, is the one I like the most. So, here you go.

The Song Which Makes me Yearn to  Sing

I learned to ‘sing’, if you can call it that, by listening to music as a kid. Nicolette Larson, Linda Ronstadt, Crystal Gayle and most of all, the monumental Joni Mitchell shaped my dreams of what being a singer meant. My voice comes nowhere close, but a gal can dream.

The Song Which Reminds me of my baby

I’m never not thinking about my baby, of course. But, even years from now, this song will bring me back to our earliest days and months together, and it’s one I still sing every bedtime. Thank you, Mama Cass, for your voice. You’ve given my baby and me some very beautiful memories.

The Song Which Raises My Neck Hairs

I don’t know if it’s the intro, or the opening vocal, or just… everything, but this song makes something in me thrill. I never tire of listening to it, and I will never stop missing David Bowie. Here’s his Sound and Vision.

And, there you have it. There are ten thousand other songs I could have picked, for ten thousand other reasons, but this selection will do for now. Happy listening…

 

Rock and Roll Weekend

You know what’s worse than a rainy Monday morning? A rainy Monday morning that comes after a weekend of great joy.

Put glasses on this dog, and you're looking at me. Image: hdwallpapersfan.com

Put glasses on this dog, and you’re looking at me.
Image: hdwallpapersfan.com

This past Saturday, my lovely brother decided to treat our family to a spectacular night out. First, he craftily arranged for us all to be in Dublin, on the pretence that we were going to have dinner in honour of Father’s Day; once we were all assembled, he then sprang a surprise. We weren’t actually going to have dinner, as great as that would’ve been just by itself. No; instead, we were going to a concert. He’d bought the tickets weeks in advance, and had been keeping the whole thing top-secret.

But this was not just any old concert. We were going to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

This pretty much covers my reaction to the news! Image: sheknows.com

This pretty much covers my reaction to the news!
Image: sheknows.com

So, as I’ve said somewhere on the blog before, my dad is largely responsible for my musical taste, and my brother’s. We listened to a lot of classic rock growing up and Neil Young was (and is) the primary musical pillar of my life. So, as you can imagine, to see him live was incredible. Back in 2001 my dad and I saw him in concert, just the two of us, so it was fantastic to catch another live show, along with my mother and brother this time. It was the best Father’s Day gift anyone could have imagined. Kudos to my brother!

The show was amazing, even though we were frozen solid (not an uncommon thing during an Irish summer!); the band played for a solid two hours, and some of my all-time favourites were given the full-on live show treatment. We heard ‘Powderfinger’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’ (I nearly jumped through the roof when they burst into the opening chords for this one!), ‘Hey Hey My My’ and, for an encore, ‘Cortez the Killer’, one of the highlights from my favourite album, ‘Zuma’. All in all, it was an excellent show. There was a bit of the old ‘rock god noodling on the guitar aimlessly for forty minutes, just because I’m Neil Young and I can do what I like’-itis, but I easily forgave that. It was fantastic, and I loved it, and I was so happy to be there with my family, too.

The legend himself... Image: kitguru.net

The legend himself…
Image: kitguru.net

After a gentle Sunday morning, we spent most of the day together before the inevitable parting of the ways. I hate that bit, you know? Actually, I’m not going to dwell on it, lest I start getting blue again.

Anyway.

So, it’s Monday, and it’s time to focus on the week ahead. I have several agents to query (and, a query letter to improve upon), as well as stories for a late-June deadline to tweak, as well as submission opportunities to scare up, as well as The Fear to bring under control… *cue deep breathing*

So, it’s all as normal here. How are the rest of you? I hope good weekends were had by all, and that you’re attacking Monday front and centre. Let’s get through it, a minute at a time!