Album #165: Neil Young – Homegrown

  • Released: 2020 (recorded 1974/75)
  • Origin: Winnipeg, Canada
  • Label: Silver Bow Productions
  • Best Track: Separate Ways

Yet another surprise of the world grinding to a halt is country rock legend Neil Young bestowing an album upon us that he’d kept to himself for over 45 years, even if technically its release was announced late last year.

The story behind Homegrown is that it’s a part of a collection of tracks Young recorded amid tours during the latter half of 1974 and early 1975. As they were written in the midst of a declining relationship with actress Carrie Snodgrass, the personal nature of the tracks meant Young could never quite bring himself to release it, although a few singles from it did emerge. Nearly half a century on, what more fitting time for this sad, downbeat record to finally see the light of day?

I don’t doubt there are Neil Young fanboys about who managed to hear these songs years ago, but to a casual appreciative like me, this is new material. It often sounds familiar though, particularly the wise and poetic ‘Love Is A Rose’, which was actually one of the songs made public at the time.

‘Separate Ways’ is a beautiful, tear-jerking opener about a love that’s burned out, while ‘Vacancy’, though something of a foot-stomper, still carries a real numbness that runs through the album.

It’s kind of haunting the idea of hearing a record from a young man at a completely different time, shielded from human ears for decades. Worth the wait? It’s for a more obsessive fan of Young’s than I to decide, but I enjoyed it.

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