Neil Young and Crazy Horse have shared a new song “Heading West,” which will appear on their upcoming LP Barn, out Dec. 10. It’s a nostalgic look back at Young’s childhood, and his move from Ontario to Winnipeg after his parents divorce.
“What a great ride with the Horse on this one!” Young wrote on the Neil Young Archives. “[Guitar tech] Larry Cragg had my guitar sounding so alive… My mom and I travelled across the country together, heading west. She was on her way back home to start over. I was on my way there with her. Here’s a song about me and my mom and those ‘growing up’ times. It’s so great to remember her this way!”
Young’s tumultuous childhood has been the subject of several songs in his catalog, including “Don’t Be Denied,” “Hitchhiker,” “Born In Ontario,” “Olden Days,” and “Far From Home.”
“Heading West” is the second song from Barn that Young has released following “Song of the Seasons.” The album was cut at Studio in the Clouds in Colorado, and Young’s wife, the actress Daryl Hannah, filmed the sessions for a documentary they’re also calling Barn.
“All performances [in the movie] are of our original recordings used on the album,” Young wrote on the Neil Young Archives. “Since we play it ‘live’ in the Barn, you are seeing exactly what happened the day as we made Barn the album.”
Fifty years ago, Young recorded parts of his landmark album Harvest in another barn. That one rested on his Northern California ranch that was his home for many decades. Next year he’s celebrating the 50th anniversary of Harvest with a special edition of the album that will contain previously-unreleased music and film footage from the era.
“Along with four outtakes, a complete film of ‘in progress’ of the Harvest era 1970-71 was viewed for the first time by many this weekend,” Young recently wrote. “Many unseen performances form the era’s sessions appear in Harvest Time. As I watched the Nashville sessions, London Symphony sessions, Harvest Barn sessions, rare/never heard or seen performances and interviews, I was transported back to those days…Almost two hours of Harvest rarities. Harvest Time. Coming 2022.”