Neil Young: Heart of Gold
Spring 2006 Documentary series
Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 7:00pm
Rated NR ·
In March 2005, Neil Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Four days before he was scheduled for a lifesaving operation, he headed to Nashville, where he wrote and recorded the country folk album Prairie Wind with old friends and family members. After the successful operation and recovery period, he returned to Nashville that August to play at the famed Ryman Auditorium, once again gathering together friends and family for this special performance. He also brought along Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme, who in addition to making such hits as The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia has made such successful concert films as Stop Making Sense (with the Talking Heads) and Storefront Hitchcock (with Robyn Hitchcock), as well as videos for the Pretenders and Bruce Springsteen.
Neil Young: Heart of Gold begins with brief interviews with many of the participants, but then it’s all about the music. Supported by his wife, Pegi, country star Emmylou Harris, the Nashville String Machine, the Memphis Horns, the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, and musicians Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham, Rick Rosas, Grant Boatwright, and others, Young leads an ever-changing collection of musicians through nine of the ten songs from the remarkable Prairie Wind, an album that poignantly deals with love and loss, life and death. Young even gets reflective at the show, telling moving stories from his past in between playing guitar, harmonica, piano, and banjo. He also delights the crowd with a long set of encores of past acoustic hits, going through his vast repertoire to find memorable songs that examine life and death as well, including “The Needle and the Damage Done,” “Old Man,” “Comes a Time,” and Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds.” Neil Young: Heart of Gold is an extraordinary document of one of the world’s greatest songwriters staring death in the face—and letting the music save him.