My Heart ( Neil Young Cover ) 08.16.09
Neil Young. What a treasure. He’s one of those artists that I love, my brother loves, my mother loves, my dad loves, and my friends love. Mainly because Neil’s done it all; he’s worked in so many styles and genres over a four and a half decade career. A true original. His influence on musicians is a wide net cast over so many of us, over such a long period. And he still makes great music, so many years after he started. When you’re good, you keep doing what you’re good at I guess.
This song was the lead-off track to his 1994 album Sleeps With Angels. An intensely personal album (so many of his albums are), it smouldered with the intensity that only Crazy Horse can bring to the proceedings, but it had a real tenderness and open, soulful heart in what was captured in the recordings. Neil was reeling from the death of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana‘s front man, who had committed suicide earlier that year. Cobain had quoted from a Neil Young lyric in his suicide note. Neil was purportedly quite angry, hurt and saddened by the choice Kurt made to end his life, when he had such an incredibly bright career ahead of him. This sombre reality influenced the songs Young wrote on this extremely underrated album.
There is a naïve grace in the way Neil approaches the arrangment to this song, singing and playing the same melody line. It adds a directness to an already very direct and heartfelt lyric, and I didn’t want to embellish upon that. This song should be considered a standard in Neil’s—or anyone’s—repertoire, and I believe it sits comfortably with any of his more popular and well-known songs.
Neil’s recording makes me covet his tack piano though. Someday I want to alter a piano by turning it into a tack piano. The sound is otherworldly.
What a song.