These days I am flexible enough to work where I like; armed with TheGreenBow, BlogJet, and OpenOffice, I frequent a number of spots boasting free WiFi. One of my favourites is The Black Stilt. I have been considered a regular here, since the day I went up to order my favourite drink and found it had already been made for me. This foresight was (and still is) a tremendous blessing. (If you go, tip the staff well). An open design, plenty of comfy seats, excellent coffee, a wide array of snacks, and an eclectic mix of music makes for a lively atmosphere.
Lately, I have noticed that the staff have been in a classics phase, playing a lot of Dylan, Beatles, Bowie, et cetera. Among these, Neil Young has gotten the most air time, to my pleasure and delight. This exposure caused me to re-visit my own library, play some dusty songs and add some new ones. Prairie Wind and Living With War were two albums that I loved immediately and played many times. Prairie Wind told a story I could relate to and Living With War helped me process the mess Bush had gotten us into. Chrome Dreams II, on the other hand, has taken me much longer to warm up to. It is not a “bad” album, but lacks the depth of the other two.
I also went back to Rust Never Sleeps; you’ll seldom find another album with as nice an introduction and conclusion than My, My, Hey, Hey and Hey, Hey, My, My. Once I begin playing Thrasher I can’t seem to stop; I click repeat and marvel at Young’s lyric writing: “They had the best selection,/ They were poisoned with protection/ There was nothing that they needed,/ Nothing left to find/ They were lost in rock formations/ Or became park bench mutations.” Of course you can’t go wrong with popular albums like Harvest. Speaking of Harvest, I purchased Live at Massey Hall. This 1971 recording was finally released in 2007. Young’s solo acoustic performance showcases his amazing talent and features five “new” songs that would rock the free world months later with the release of Harvest. Young also provides back-story for many of the songs. The recording quality is quite good, though I felt that more applause could have been cut out.
Today, I was fortunate enough to scoop some floor seats for Leonard Cohen’s upcoming concert. I can only hope that Neil Young’s presence, too, will grace my city soon.