Neil Young – Fireside Sessions III (2020)

Helpless, helpless, helpless

In celebration of Neil Young’s fantastic web site Neil Young Archives, NYA, I’m looking at the Fireside Sessions he has put up there. Wife Daryl shoots these hyper intimate films of Neil playing, singing and dancing in front of fireplaces.

The first song “New mama”, taken from “Tonight’s the night”, is played in front of a homely fire at a fireplace outside, somewher on the lands of Neil’s ranch I imagine. The snow in the background and a magnificent sunset over the mountains of Colorado. Neil in shadows but it only makes it even more mystical.

The second song is performed on Neil’s old stand up piano. I think of the piano in the bar in the early seasons of Westworld. “See the sky about to rain” is one of those songs… As so many songs in his catalogue it is brilliant and yet it is drowned in the massive amount of great songs uncle Neil has penned. I am amazed of the high level of quality of the man.

In this film their white shaggy dog has a main role. It seems to be a good dog. He likes water, the sponsor of this film. What is the dog’s name? I do not know it.

“I am a child” is one of those songs that I have heard many, many times live. It is a cute song, it has such a tender tone. I like it, I love it. See above… so many great songs, that man, Neil.

The first real surprise of the session is “Throw your hatred down” on the old piano. Taken from the almost forgotten collaboration album with the youngsters from Pearl Jam. Do you remember it? Neil did an album in 1995 with Pearl Jam as the backing band. It is called “Mirror ball”. The album has several really good songs, but the album was rushed and poorly mixed. Here we get a stripped down and sensitive, almost tentative, version. Very nice!

Next up is “World on a string”, another one from “Tonight’s the night”. It’s great. Feels like home, safe. After that Neil sings something that sounds like “break the chain” a few times. Don’t know more about that. Break the violence maybe?

“Helpless” shot with some digital effect is a classic from CSNY “Deja vu”, one of all those great albums that came out of the mega year 1970. A melancholic lament about Neil’s native country of Canada. It brings tears to my eyes.

It’s late evening. Neil is outside again. The memory of the sunset remains. The sky is dark red. “Already one” from stellar album “Come a time” ends this session in a perfect way. The spring is coming. Now only time can come between us.

Thanks Neil and Daryl.

Setlist:

  1. New mama
  2. See the sky about to rain (piano)
  3. I am a child
  4. Throw your hatred down (piano)
  5. World on a string
  6. “Break the chain” (snippet)
  7. Helpless
  8. Already one

Best songs: “Throw your hatred down”, “Helpless” and “Already one”

Recorded on April 10, 2020

Link to the current page on NYA for the short film.

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