On August 11th, 1976, Neil Young walked into Indigo Studios in Malibu and recorded 10 songs with his acoustic guitar. The results of that session are collected on Hitchhiker, a new Young LP due out on September 8th.
Many of the songs have surfaced on previous Young albums, albeit in different forms: “Human Highway” appeared two years later on 1978’s Comes a Time, while “Powderfinger,” “Ride My Llama” and “Pocahontas” showed up on Rust Never Sleeps (1979), and “Captain Kennedy” came out on 1980’s Hawks & Doves. Hitchhiker will also contain a pair of never-before-released songs – “Hawaii,” “a soaring ballad,” and “Give Me Strength,” which Young has occasionally performed live.
Young recorded Hitchhiker with David Briggs, who helped produce many of Young’s most famous albums, including Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush and On the Beach. John Hanlon, another long-time collaborator, contributed some post-production to the original Malibu recordings.
Even as Young unearths old material from 1976, he’s been busily creating new music as well. In 2016, he released a live LP (Earth) and a studio album (Peace Trail). “I’ve got a lot to do without touring,” he told Rolling Stone last year. “I’m actually just focusing now on recordings for awhile.” One of his in-progress projects is the first record with his backing band Promise of the Real.
“Where I live now, I have a studio nearby; I can just go down there and work in it when I feel like it,” Young added. “I feel free to do whatever I want to do.”
Hitchhiker Track List
3. “Captain Kennedy”
5. “Give Me Strength”
6. “Ride My Llama”
9. “Human Highway”
10. “The Old Country Waltz”