Showing posts with label Neil Young. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neil Young. Show all posts

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Famous Photos

Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood
I have been very fortunate and privileged to photo some of the most famous names in contemporary music from the 70s and from the present day.

Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Jerry Douglas, John Mayer

Present day – Hurts, Emeli Sande, Mumford, Laura Marling, Snowpatrol, more!

Laura Marling
John Mayer
Lindsay Buckingham, Fleetwood
Elton John
Van Morrison
Emeli Sande
Paul McCartney

Monday 31 March 2014

New Pono Player

In March Neil Young launched his high quality digital Pono music player at SXSW in Austin, Texas, where he said of his new player "once you hear this, you can't go back". The rock legend announced his plans for Pono - and during the event his Kickstarter campaign raised over $800,000 in just 4 hours! Young explained that 'Pono' is the Hawaiian word for 'righteousness'.

Pono promises lossless audio files, up to "ultra-high resolution" 9216 kbps. Pono consists of a digital music service (PonoMusic) and 128GB portable device (PonoPlayer) capable of storing 1-2,000 high resolution songs.
Some observers however have described the new player, which is yellow and shaped like a triangle, as looking like a Toblerone Chunky! Some also wonder whether we need higher quality sound for ‘music-on-the-go?

I read of Young’s music player,g which he called ‘Pure Tone’ at first, in his good read autobiography Waging Heavy Peace. Young was very concerned over the sound compression of mP3s and resolved to develop a high resolution sound. This reminded me of lo res web images compared to high quality prints. 

Young believes the quality of sound is being lost with MP3s as they compress the sound of music - whereas in the studio there are many layers of sound.  We might compare this to the quality of lo res web images compressed to 72 dpi to hi res prints 300dpi. 

The Pono Player is described as a "purpose-built, portable, high-resolution digital-music player designed and engineered in a "no-compromise" fashion to allow consumers to experience studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible, bringing the true emotion and detail of the music, the way the artist recorded it, to life."
Young is due to release a new autobiography. I enjoyed reading his Waging Heavy Peace last year his stories of both his passion for both vintage cars and music 

His next album will also be released this month and he said the record was "An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever…".
Neil Young SECC Glasgow 2013
QUOTE Neil Young in Waging Heavy Peace:I want to bring the soul of the music industry and the technology of Silicon valley together to create this new model using artists as the drivers’
I have an idea to build a portable player (I’ve called ‘Pure Tone’) and an online distribution model to present a quality alternative to MP3s.

‘To rescue music from the degradation in quality that is at the heart of the decline of music sales and ultimately music itself in popular culture with the advent of the new online music retailers (such as iTunes ) has some terrible quality. An mp3 has about five percent of the data that can be found in a ‘Pure Tone’ master file or a vinyl record.

I dislike what has happened to the quality of the sound of music, there is little depth or feeling left and people can’t get what they need from listening to music anymore, so it is dying.’
Recording is my first love in the creative field (along with song writing and music making)

Which all led me to think about how much I enjoy the quality of sound of live music. And also prompted me to restore our vinyl LPs and record player from their place in the attic. My son was highly impressed!

Sunday 30 June 2013

Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse rocked the SECC

His father was a writer and he told Neil – ‘Write every day, you never know what will come out.’
Young is a kicks ass, no holes barred, tells it like it is singer songwriter. He has travelled along many long highways, sometimes in vintage cars, and he remembers which car he was driving to record each of his albums. Neil left Canada in his early twenties to find that LA sound. He had already met Steven Stills.   

The opening salvo for the SECC concert was full of colour and drama and set a scene that forecast a quality concert; when men in white coats assembled the stage with very large speakers and a solo microphone and finished with pipers playing Flower of Scotland. Young enjoys staging and film and for each of his tours chooses a theatrical scene.
From the start Young, guitarist Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro and bassist Billy Talbot were hunched together in a communal heavy guitar rock. The Crazy Horse players sound is strongly guitar based and they performed some overly long tracks on this Alchemy Tour. 

Young performed new material such as ‘Walk Like a Giant’ from his latest album Psychedelic Pill - which was 20 minutes long and was played like a storm cloud full of charged disturbed energy, along with the added drama of special effects and the song finished with a releasing rain. .
Well received songs were Cinnamon Girl (1969) and long time favourite Heart of Gold, when Young took to the stage with only an acoustic guitar. This went down particularly well with the large SECC audience but was really the first opportunity to sing along or to relive memories. Then he sang a sensitive version of Dylan’s Blowin in the Wind. Young enjoys older instruments of character and he took to a honky tonk piano to sing his lovely new song Singer Without A Song. After this too short interlude it was back to the Crazy Horse rock. The band closed the set with the thunderous guitars of ‘Hey Hey My My’
There was a lot of synergy and energy in the bands playing. I read that when Neil was playing guitar with his band Buffalo Springfield, a reviewer noted his guitar playing had a special charge and flow to it. He took this to heart with his future music and live playing. 
American icon Young has a distinctive tenor voice and his back catalogue of songs includes some of the most memorable songs from the early 70s. I was disappointed not to hear After the Gold Rush and Helpless. For me it is always about the song. When Young has an array of songs to choose from, I’m not sure I understand the one token classic. I guess it depends what we expect of our musicals heroes.
Set List: Love and Only Love, Powderfinger, Walk Like a Giant, Ramada Inn, Hole in the Sky, Heart of Gold, Blowin In the Wind, Singer Without a Song, Mr Soul, Cinnamon Girl, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Fuckin Up, Hey Hey my My.

It is good he is still rocking in the free world, and I understand Neil wants to keep things fresh and moving on, but concerts by other living legend veterans of the 70s have their back catalogue of songs as the back bone of the gig, with newer material interspersed over them. Some of the band’s material was limited and repetitive. Sorry Neil!
Young on his band Crazy Horse – “We want to show our audience who we are. It is a very special thing we have, the way we play off of one another, the real deal. But it all comes from the songs, the images in our minds and hearts, the lyrics and the way they resonate. That is the fuel in the band. That is what will make the music relevant.”  
Some of his best loved songs – Heart of Gold, Helpless, After the Goldrush, Living in the Free World, Old Man.

I have recently been reading Neil Young’s autobiography Waging Heavy Peace which is a great read and he is an engaging and colourful character. 
Some Quotes – ‘In my life I've had various health threats, polio, seizures, a brain aneurism. None of these things has really changed me much, although it is hard to say for sure. These are vents that are part of my life, they make me who I am. I am thankful for them. They are scary.’ 
‘It is lonely job out there performing. I like it when the sound is right and the audience is into it and the music is relevant. If one of those elements is missing you are screwed. You are killing yourself slowly.  You need all three elements.’
Young is known for his clawhammer acoustic guitar playing and for music that is sometimes ragged and sometimes melodic.  Best known for folk and country rock and electric hard rock with his band Crazy Horse.  Young is an outspoken advocate for environmental issues and the welfare of small farmers, having co-founded Farm Aid in 1985.

*I was excited for taking photos at the gig – but these days many American artists are severely limiting access for the photographers. The concert was being filmed also but not with cameras on a moving track. We were limited to the side of the pit behind a red line. On top of this Neil’s face was half shaded with his hat and surprisingly the light was poor quality too. A concern for photography is that filming is taking over and stills are being used yet how creative is the filming. If I look at the best quality photography they far outshine grab stills.

Thursday 19 April 2012

*The LA sound - The Byrds to The Eagles

Crosby, Stills and Nash; Neil Young; Joni Mitchell; David Geffen. And The Laid back acoustic sound of Laurel Canyon - All about the SONG

In the early 70s LA became the centre of the music business as young artists moved there rather than to New York city. Artists came to play the well renowned LA Troubadour venue.

The artist was the centre of the business, which was driven by the songwriter and by self publishing singer songwriters. Crosby, Stills and Nash were known for their beautiful 3 part harmonies and exquisitely roving melodies. Then we had flower power and hippies.

Carole King and James Taylor moved there from New York and King’s Tapestry album spent15 weeks at no 1. 

Ambition and idealism ‘counter culture' was the name of the game.
However.....eventually the business men moved in and it became more about managers and lawyers - more about business and less about the music. The Corporation of Rock.

Recently I thought... where are the great songs of today? 
And so I begin to wonder about the cheap club nights and that's what ears get used to.... and that it is it simply not about THE SONG anymore?
In my view the cheapening of music has led to some kind of diluted commodity with no thought about quality anymore.

Unbelievable clip  -
John Lennon and Paul Simon present the Best Song Award 1975 at the Grammy's when Olivia Newton John beats icons - Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack!!
The Industry never ceases to amaze me! 

 Most amazing CLIP of Judy Blue Eyes ( Joni mitchell)