Neil Young has been sharing his Fireside Sessions during the coronavirus lockdown, but keeping himself and fans entertained isn’t his only concern in these strange times. Ever the activist, the folk icon has been considering the larger environmental implications of the pandemic. To highlight how caring for each other and the natural world is more pressing now than ever, Young has shared an updated version of his track “Shut It Down” with Crazy Horse, which he’s rechristened, “Shut It Down 2020”.
The original song comes from the recently released Colorado, Young’s first work with Crazy Horse since 2012’s Psychedelic Pill. While the band’s Billy Talbot (bass/vocals), Ralph Molina (drums/vocals), and Nils Lofgren (guitar/vocals) all appear alongside Young on the updated take, it’s a much heavier recording to reflect the harder times in which we find ourselves.
Young, who was inspired to create the new version by fans commenting on the song’s heightened relevance in light of COVID-19, had this to say in a press statement:
“These are uncertain times. I wish you all the best as you care for our sick, the young and old who we love so much. Sending the best wishes to all the health care and government workers all over the world, to all the scientists who will learn and share with us the best ways to ensure survival in our world challenged. Let’s all work together and stay positive that we will find a way. With love to all, in all walks of life, all political persuasions, all colors. We will succeed working together for the good of our world as we are here together, hanging in the balance of nature.”
To accompany “Shut It Down 2020”, Young and his wife, Daryl Hannah, put together a video. The clip places studio footage from the Colorado making-of documentary Mountaintop Sessions alongside images of the current health crisis, including health professionals using Hefty products as PPE and drone-shot scenes of abandoned city streets. Watch below.