A year and a half after the release of Neil Young’s rabble-rousing Living with War, he’s unleashing Chrome Dreams II, an album that looks back to some of his vintage recordings, rather than sounding an anxious alarm about current events, like 2003’s Greendale and Living with War.

“It’s an album with a form based in some of my original recordings with a large variety of songs, rather than one specific type of song,” explains Young in a written statement. Much like Living with War, it was written quickly—over a matter of days, then recorded in July over ten days time at Feel Good’s studio in Redwood City, California, close to Young’s sprawling digs.

“Where Living with War and Everybody’s Rockin’ were albums focused on one subject or style,” Young says, “Chrome Dreams II is more like After the Goldrush or Freedom, with different types of songs working together to form a feeling. Now that radio formats are not as influential as they once were, it’s easier to release an album that crosses all formats with a message that runs through the whole thing, regardless of the type of song or sound.”

Young’s sessions didn’t stick with just his Prairie Wind Nashville players, but mixed it up a little, tapping Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina as well as pedal steel guitarist and dobro player Ben Keith (Harvest, Comes a Time, Harvest Moon) and bassist Rick Rosas (Freedom, Living with War, This Note’s For You).

Gibson Backstage Pass - Neil Young Following up on the more spiritual note that he ended with on Prairie Wind with “When God Made Me,” Young explained, “Some early listeners have said that this album is positive and spiritual. I like to think it focuses on the human condition. Like many of my recordings, this one draws on earlier material here and there. I used to do that a lot back in the day. Some songs, like ‘Ordinary People,’ need to wait for the right time. I think now is the right time for that song and it lives well with the new songs I have written in the past few months. I had a blast making this music.”

If you’re wondering, the new album’s title refers to an earlier planned release that never came out. In fall of 1976, the album Chrome Dreams was announced for a November release. However, that date came and went and no album ever appeared. Like many things in Young’s world, it entered into the ozone and became a subject of speculation. Chrome Dreams II may hold some of the answers to those long-held questions. Or maybe even more questions: Like where are the Archives Vol. 01, 1963-1972 that were due out this year?

In other Neil Young news, the former Grandfather of Grunge has a track on the forthcoming Fats Domino tribute album Goin’ Home. He performs “Walking to New Orleans,” the same track he covered on the Katrina telethon. 

Young also agreed to allow Greendale to be adapted into a graphic novel, working with writer Joshua Dysart, who was the creative force behind the graphic book released earlier this year on Avril Lavigne, titled Make Five Wishes. This comic book-cum-novel has been two years in the making, and the idea came from Young himself, but since that initial meeting he’s taken an arms-length approach to the project. Greendale will be published by DC Comic subsidiary Vertigo, and will be released in 2008. 

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