UPDATE (10/15): Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s “Song of the Seasons” is now streaming on YouTube.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse have announced that their new album Barn will be out in December. “Barn is very special,” Young wrote to fans on the Neil Young Archives. “It rock. It rolls…I wish it was out now. It’s got songs that are part of these times.”
He has yet to release any songs from Barn to the general public, but subscribers to the Neil Young Archives were given a chance to stream the tune “Song of the Seasons” today. According to information on the site, it was recorded “high in the Rockies” on June 21st, 2021 via the Le Mobile Recording Studio.
“This is the first track of Barn, our new album with Crazy Horse,” Young wrote to fans. “It’s the oldest song on the record, written about this time last year.”
The song is a gentle acoustic ballad that would fit more comfortably on Harvest Moon or Comes a Time rather than classic Crazy Horse records like Zuma or Rust Never Sleeps. The lyrics clearly were inspired at least in part by the pandemic. “Lookin’ through this clear vinyl window,” Young sings. “At the city and it’s lights/Masked people walkin’ everywhere/It’s humanity in my sights.”
This is the second Neil Young and Crazy Horse record since longtime guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro retired. He was replaced by Nils Lofgren, whose history with Young dates back to the After The Gold Rush sessions in 1970. Bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina have been with Crazy Horse since the formation of the band in 1968.
Young hasn’t performed in public in over two years. And while many of his peers have slowly began booking gigs again, he remains hesitant. “We hope to be out there in 2022,” he wrote to a fan in August. “If it’s safe for the audience.”
During the lockdown, Young combed through his archives and prepared a large slate of archival releases. He’s also already at work on at least one new song. “It might take weeks to shape the melody,” he wrote in September. “But unlike the past, I’m in no rush now.”