Neil Young was confronted by his own mortality in 2005, losing his father to a long illness and suffering an aneurysm during the recording of Prairie Wind. The resulting album is an acoustic album with songs that gently deal with themes of ageing and death, in a dignified way that befits a man of 60. If Young had named the album Harvest Wind it would have sold many more copies; it’s in the same acoustic, folk mode as Harvest and Comes A Time, and it’s impressively strong for an album in Young’s sixth decade as a recording artist.
Songs like ‘It’s A Dream’ and ‘Falling Off The Face Of The Earth’ are beautiful. ‘When God Made Me’ is an interesting look from a member of the 1960ss counterculture survivor at issues of faith, asking questions like “Did he say there was only one way/To be close to him?” ‘No Wonder’ tackles political and environmental issues, building into a heavy guitar climax, while the Elvis tribute ‘He’s A King’ provides a change of pace.
On Prairie Wind, Young’s exploring gentle and emotional territory that’s fully appropriate for a gentleman of his age, and it’s impressively nuanced and convincing.