Today is Neil Young’s 65th birthday. Numerous country artists have covered songs penned by Neil Young (make your own joke about Southern men not needing him around, anyhow); here are some of my favorites.
Williams covered this track from After the Gold Rush for last year’s Here with Me. Accompanied with gentle piano, she stays pretty faithful to Young’s original—why mess with a good thing, right?
4. “Dreamin’ Man” – Neko Case
This song can be found on 2001’s Canadian Amp, an album which also includes a stellar version of Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken.” Though Case’s new stuff is largely in the realm of indie pop (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it’s nice to go back and hear her rootsier, alt-country stuff.
1995’s Wrecking Ball, produced by Daniel Lanois (who’s worked with U2, Brian Eno, and lots more), was something of a stylistic departure for Harrris. It’s also arguably the most engaging album of her career. In my opinion, she sings “Wrecking Ball” better than Young did. Just watch the video; she’s flawless. (PS. Don’t forget her version of Young’s “Long May You Run” found on the Last Date LP.)
This song was originally recorded for Young’s 1972 record Harvest; Jennings made it the title track of a covers album four years later. The video below of the two men performing the song together may be a little blurry, but it doesn’t sound half bad.
Juli Thanki is the editor of Engine 145 and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bluegrass Unlimited, and M Music & Musicians Magazine. In 2011 she received the International Bluegrass Music Association Print Media Person of the Year award.