|August 23rd, 2005 08:53 AM
||Neil Young promises Juno appearance
By ANGELA PACIENZA
NASHVILLE (CP) - The only evidence left that Neil Young suffered a near-death experience five months ago is a couple of pills he takes daily, says the legendary musician. In an interview on the weekend in Nashville where he filmed a concert documentary with director Jonathan Demme, Young said nothing much has changed in his day-to-day life since the brain aneurysm last March.
"There's just a little bit of medication that I take . . . They just want to keep my blood pressure down because I run pretty hot," said a trim-looking Young, dressed head-to-toe in black.
"I feel a little bit like a diesel engine with a governor on it," added Young, using the lingo of the model train aficionado that he is.
Young has been keeping a frenetic pace lately.
He brought the house down in Nashville on Thursday and Friday, performing concerts which lasted more than three hours each night. He partied into the wee hours and then, the typically media-averse Young held court with music press from around the world to discuss a variety of upcoming projects including Prairie Wind, his new CD due out next month. He's also toiling away on a DVD box set of archival material dating back to the early 1960s.
Surgery to fix the blood clot forced the singer to cancel a highly anticipated appearance at the Juno Awards in Winnipeg, the city he lived in during his formative music years. Young was supposed to be the marquee star of the show.
"I will come back another year," promised the Toronto-born singer. "I hesitate to say anything right now because I haven't made the plans so I don't want to get anything going that I'm going to bail out on."
He's currently trying to map out a tour for the new year.
In making those plans, he said he's looking for a way to route the journey home - whether it's to the Junos, taking place in Halifax next April, or perhaps the Prairies that he so fondly sings about in the new record.
"It's at the top of our minds," said the 59-year-old. "It's always a consideration when we think of what we're going to do next."
The biggest hurdle is bringing the dozens of musicians on the album on a tour. The group includes Emmylou Harris, gospel choir Fisk University Jubilee Singers, keyboardist Spooner Oldham and pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith.
"It's not going to be easy to do it," said Young. "We have to figure out a method." Due out Sept. 27, Prairie Wind is a deeply personal album.
In it, Young tenderly recalls his Canadian upbringing. He sings about a farmhouse where he was raised and a ukulele given to him one Christmas by his father, sportswriter and author Scott Young, who passed away in June.
"Prairie Wind blowing through my head," he moans on the title track.
Fans can get a peek at the album this week. The first single, the balmy ballad The Painter, was released Monday to radio. It will be available on ITunes on Aug. 30.
On the track, Young sings "It's a long road behind me/It's a long road ahead/If you follow every dream you might get lost."
Young admitted there have been a few dreams he "didn't get to for one reason or another."
He pointed to the film version of his 1982 experimental album Trans, by way of example.
"It wasn't the right time. I was ahead of myself," he says. "If I had that idea later I would have filmed it myself."
While Young was open to meeting with reporters over the weekend, his distaste for the trade hasn't dissipated.
He had harsh words for the TV networks about their Live 8 coverage of concerts around the world.
"It was so commercialized in the end," said Young, who sang at the event in Barrie, Ont.
But on the plus side, he said it "did herald the end of TV as we know it, which I think is one of the greatest signs of Live 8."
He said the media seemed out of step with reality.
"It did show that the Internet was the future . . . you won't have to listen to these complete jerk VJs interrupting historic performances by artists that haven't been together in 20 years to talk about how emotionally involved they are in the performance," he said.
"That was, in one moment, the most obvious sign of the end of an era because those people were just hanging themselves out there talking."
[Edited by Lazy Bones]