Neil Young’s new covers album, A Letter Home, will receive its official release on May 27th via Third Man Records/Reprise Records. In anticipation, it’s streaming in full below (via The Huffington Post).
The album includes covers of songs by equally illustrious singer-songwriters, including Bruce Springsteen (“My Hometown”), Bob Dylan (“Girl From The North Country”), and Willie Nelson (“On The Road Again”), among others.
Young described the Voice-O-Graph as “A phone booth. It’s all acoustic with a harmonica inside a closed space, with one mic to vinyl.” It results in a “lo-fi analog record”, which Young described as “retro-tech.” However, in keeping with the spirit of his new music service Pono, it’ll feature a high-resolution sound. As he explained, “You can make a lo-fi, analog record, direct to vinyl, transfer it to 192, and you have a high res copy of a lo-fi vinyl record.”
In a subsequent interview with Rolling Stone, Young discussed working with White at the Third Man compound:
The recordings were done in September, just before Farm Aid last year. I was at Third Man on Record Store Day that year [in April]. I tried the booth. Jack and I are both into mechanical things. We’re kind of geeky, I guess. I checked it out. And he had people coming in, recording on it all day long. Jack’s a real interesting character; he has kind of a Barnum-and-Bailey thing going on.
So we got into talking about this, and I said, ‘You know, Jack, I’m going to come back and do an album, in this thing.’ I spent the summer, during whatever else I was doing then, learning these songs, finding the right ones to do, talking to people, researching it. I was looking for songs that affected me – songs that meant something to me in my life, to me in my songwriting craft.
Among the various configurations, the album will also be available as a deluxe box set. It includes two different vinyl versions of the album, including a hi-res Audiophile LP pressed on 180-gram vinyl; a DVD with footage of the recording sessions; a 32-page color booklet; and seven 6-inch clear vinyl discs, each featuring two of the album tracks, with the seventh one containing a non-album version of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
Earlier this month, Young and White appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to demonstrate the album’s recording process. Watch the replay here.
A Letter Home Tracklist:
01. A Letter Home Intro
02. “Changes” (Phil Ochs)
03. “Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan)
04. “Needle of Death” (Bert Jansch)
05. “Early Morning Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot)
06. “Crazy” (Willie Nelson)
07. “Reason to Believe” (Tim Hardin)
08. “On The Road Again” (Willie Nelson)
09. “If You Could Only Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot)
10. “Since I Met You Baby” (Ivory Joe Hunter)
11. “My Hometown” (Bruce Springsteen)
12. “I Wonder If I Care As Much” (Everly Brothers)