- Released: September 27, 2005
- Label: Reprise / WEA
Uncut - p.985 stars out of 5
- "Deep, warm, fully rounded and with no slack, PRAIRIE WIND is Neil at his best."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.61Ranked #31
in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Young's twilight masterpiece..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.973 stars out of 5
- "[With] Young often immersed in reflections on his family relationships....Strong and tremulous. The core of Neil Young's neilyoungness..."
- 1.The Painter
- 2.No Wonder
- 3.Falling Off the Face of the Earth
- 4.Far from Home
- 5.It's a Dream
- 6.Prairie Wind
- 7.Here for You
- 8.This Old Guitar
- 9.He Was the King
- 10.When God Made Me
Personnel: Neil Young (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica); Grant Boatwright (vocals, acoustic guitar); Curtis Wright, Diana DeWitt, Anthony Crawford , Pegi Young, Gary Pigg (vocals); Ben Keith (slide guitar, dobro); Clinton Gregory (fiddle); Connie Ellisor, Everhard Ramon, Jim Grosjean, Mary Kathryn Van Osdale, Kris Wilkinson, Carl Gorodetzky, Pamela Sixfin, David Davidson , Bob Mason , Alan Umstead, David Angell, Gary VanOsdale, Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen (strings); Wayne Jackson, Tom McGinley (horns); Spooner Oldham (piano, Wurlitzer organ); Rick Rosas (bass guitar); Karl Himmel (drums, percussion); Chad Cromwell (drums).
Additional personnel: Ben Keith (pedal steel guitar); Spooner Oldham (keyboards); Rick Rosas, Karl Himmel, Chad Cromwell.
Audio Mixers: Rob Clark ; Chad Hailey.
Recording information: Master-Link, Nashville, TN.
Photographers: Larry Cragg; L.A. Johnson.
Neil Young always seems to be making a comeback, but detractors who have diligently panned his releases from the 1990s and 2000s (and sometimes with good reason) will be forced to change their tune with 2005's PRAIRIE WIND. A plaintive, thoughtful, country-rock album that recalls both 1992's HARVEST MOON and 1972's HARVEST, PRAIRIE WIND is Young's strongest, most focused, and most compulsively listenable studio album since 1989's FREEDOM.
The most striking characteristic of the album is its mood, which is heavily nostalgic, melancholy, and, lyrically, full of reflections on memory, loss, and mortality. (The passing of Young's father and his own experience with a brain aneurysm seem likely influences for the tone here). In this way, it comes close to the emotional intensity of early '70s classics like TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT, though perhaps without the edge and ragged beauty of that work. Instead, Young cut the album in Nashville with top-shelf personnel (Spooner Oldham is among the usual suspects), giving PRAIRIE WIND a smooth veneer. Still, there is a great warmth and ease to the sound, and Young turns in some of his finest songs in ages: the simple, heart-rending "It's a Dream," for example. Young has established and shattered enough categories in his time that a return to classic form like this is well-earned, and much appreciated.