Once again Neil Young refuses to yank anyone's classic rock chain, preferring to unleash himself on his guitar in a fully plugged--but unaccompanied--session with fellow Canuck ex-pat Daniel Lanois at the console, aptly titled Le Noise.
It feels like Lanois has been hovering in Young's orbit for years, having worked with pals of the Canadian music icon like Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan, helping them create some of the best-received output of their later careers. You wouldn't think Young would have to leave his Broken Arrow Ranch in Northern California for a voice-and-guitar record, but Lanois's home studio in Silverlake provides an intimacy that suits the blunt emotion of the songs, with the producer providing his trademark sonic textures to take the songs beyond their demo-ish simplicity.
On "Walk With Me," Young cries out a sparse set of lyrics about the power of unconditional love--it could be for his wife Pegi or it could be directed at his fans--while carving chunky chords out of his Gretsch White Falcon. Halfway through, an angelic-sounding bridge suggests something more spiritual, but I think Young is just interested in the primal forces of the heart and the guitar pumping together with equal vigor.
On iTunes: Neil Young / "Walk With Me"