It’s easy to picture Neil Young up on stage with Crazy Horse or Crosby, Stills & Nash, but a 92-piece orchestra? For the “orchestral” version of the rocker’s upcoming album Storytone, Young sang live and with no overdubs as the sounds of violins and a choir swirled around him, and thanks to the new video for the environmental activism anthem “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?,” we see how Young pulled off what he told Rolling Stone was “the most different thing that I’ve ever attempted.”
In the video, we see the 92-piece orchestra receiving their cues while Young sings the track from another room. (Young told Rolling Stone he originally wanted to record the entire performance using one microphone, but that idea was nixed by his Storytone co-producers.) The singer’s performance is in turn beamed to the orchestra live via a large screen to create this unlikely collaboration. Disturbing images of pollution – the type Young hopes to eradicate with the message of this song – are shown on the screens above the orchestra as well.
While the orchestral Storytone marks the first time Young has never played guitar or piano on his own LP, the deluxe version of the album will feature all 10 tracks performed by Young solo. Young and Niko Bolas produced Storytone under their alias the Volume Dealers, and Michael Bearden and Chris Walden arranged and conducted the orchestra. Storytone is out on November 4th. It was initially revealed that the album would be called Storeytone but that first “e” has been dropped.
In addition to recording two albums in 2014, the lo-fi covers LP A Letter Home and Storytone – and recording two different versions of Storytone on top of that – the rocker will also follow up his acclaimed 2012 memoir Waging Heavy Peace with Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars. In that book, due out October 14th, Young recollects his life based around the many cars he’s driven over the years and the memories they conjure up. The final automobile in Special Deluxe is the most important: Young’s 1959 Lincoln that has been modified to run on ethanol and batteries. ”Transportation, food, government, politics, the way we relate, corporations – everything, it all needs to change, in order for us to survive into the end of the 21st century,” Young says.