Americana is the first album to be released by Neil Young and Crazy Horse since 2003's Greendale and their first with the full Crazy Horse line-up including Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and Frank "Poncho" Sampedro since Broken Arrow in 1996.
As you'll see from the track-listing, AMERICANA is a collection of classic, American folk songs. In their day, some of these may have been referred to as "protest songs," "murder ballads," or campfire-type songs passed down with universal, relatable tales for everyman.
Some of these compositions, like "Tom Dooley" and "Oh Susannah," were written in the 1800s, while others, like "This Land Is Your Land" (utilizing the original, widely misinterpreted "deleted verses") and "Get A Job," are mid-20th-century folk classics. It's also interesting to note that "God Save The Queen," Britain's national anthem, also became the de facto national anthem of sorts before the establishment of The Union as we know it until we came to adopt our very own "The Star Spangled Banner," which has been recognized for use as early as 1889 and made our official national anthem in 1931. Each of these compositions is very much part of the fabric of our American heritage; the roots of what we think of as "Americana" in cultural terms, using songs as a way of passing along information and documenting our past.
What ties these songs together is the fact that while they may represent an America that may no longer exist, the emotions and scenarios behind these songs still resonate with what's going on in the country today with equal, if not greater impact nearly 200 years later. The lyrics reflect the same concerns and are still remarkably meaningful to a society going through economic and cultural upheaval, especially during an election year. They are just as poignant and powerful today as the day they were written.
"Recorded on a Universal Audio tube console and to Studer two-inch eighttrack analog tape, thick chords and rough-and-ready riffs hang, wander, growl, gurgle, and toss around in the dirt; drum beats smack and slap like wet towels whapped against a cement wall. Everything, save for several well-placed choir vocal passages, is captured in the moment, fortifying Americana as the sound of a real, live band performing in a real space. After the collectives nine-year hiatus, the dynamic is refreshing and reinvigorating to experience once again, even if its now been in commission for fourplus decades." - Bob Gendron, TONEAudio, No. 46, May 2012
"On Young's first studio LP with the full Crazy Horse lineup since 1996, the garage-rock heroes rip through furious, feedback-drenched takes on folk standards from "Oh Susanna" to "This Land Is Your Land." Most of the covers boast haunting new melodies, and Young's raging, Ragged Glory-ish solos tangle with ghostly harmonies from a children's choir." - www.rollingstone.com, April 2012
"At the Slamdance Film Festival earlier this year, Young talked about the album. "A very young choir of children plays with Crazy Horse [on the album,]" he said. "They're songs we all know from kindergarten, but Crazy Horse has rearranged them, and they now belong to us." - Andy Greene, rollingstone.com, March 2012
"...[O]ne of Young's best efforts, as he and the band are obviously enjoying themselves throughout these vibrant sessions." - Greg Cahill, The Absolute Sound, October 2012
AMERICANA was produced by Neil and John Hanlon along with Mark Humphreys, and engineered by John Hanlon with John Hausmann and Jeff Pinn. It was recorded at Audio Casa Blanca by John Hanlon.
Signal Path A-A-A. Recorded on Universal Audio Tube Console and Neve BCM 10 Junior Console. Recorded to Studer 2" Eight-Track Analog Tape and Pro Tools. Mixed to AMPEX 1/2" Two-Track Analog Tape.
180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl
Double LP, 3 Sides of Music, Etching on Side D
Recorded on a Universal Audio Tube Console and to Studer 2" Eight-Track Analog Tape!
Vinyl Mastering by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, CA
Special 'Crazy Horse' Etching featured on Side D!
LP1 - Side 1:
1. Oh Susannah
3. Tom Dula
LP1 - Side 2:
1. Gallows Pole
2. Get A Job
3. Travel On
4. High Flyin' Bird
LP2 - Side 3:
1. Jesus' Chariot
2. This Land Is Your Land
3. Wayfarin' Stranger
4. God Save The Queen
LP2 - Side 4:
Special 'Crazy Horse' Etching