Neil Young TributeSeptember 26th, 2017
This weekend we had the privilege of honoring Neil Young at his Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It goes without saying how important Neil Young is to both Canadian music and music in general. But Neil Young also holds a pretty special place in the band’s heart and history.
When Max, Mike and I first met in university, Neil Young provided the soundtrack to many late night jams and hangouts at our friend (who is now a fantastic Toronto-based producer/pedal steel player) Aaron Goldstein’s house. At this time in our lives Max, Mike and Aaron even had a Neil Young-inspired side project called the Surly Young Bucks, who made a name for themselves playing every Hamilton bar that would serve Labatt 50 and could fit seven people on the stage. A couple years later when Jackson Square was released, lots of friends and family mentioned hearing Mr. Young’s influence in songs like Champagne Socialist – a song who’s inception you can trace back to Aaron’s basement during those university jam sessions.
Young’s ability to weave important social and political stories into his music and storytelling so seamlessly is one of many reasons I think he will go down as one of the most important musical narrators of 60s, 70s and 80s America (and of course, Canada too).
When we were invited to celebrate Neil Young’s music we knew we couldn’t do it without, Aaron. Playing at Massey Hall in front of Neil Young himself is a lot different than playing covers in Aaron’s basement on Broadway Avenue in west Hamilton, but all those late nights in university made this weekend even more special and memorable.
We have this weekend off to continue being sappy and reminiscing, but we hit the road again next week when we play four headline shows in California in Arizona. Hope to see ya then.