Various Artists

Neil Young's Jukebox: The Songs That Inspired the Man

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Running down Neil Young’s various musical influences isn’t as easy as it would first appear. Restless to a predictable fault, Young has tried on a lot of different hats in his long career, from the layered harmonies of his time with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young through his solo experiments with folk, country, electronica, jump blues, punk Americana, grunge, and seemingly all points in-between, whether acoustic or electric. Amazingly, maybe because of his high, thin wavering vocals and his penchant for economical one- and two-note guitar solos, or his eclectic but still identifiable songwriting, Young has always still managed to sound exactly like himself, no matter the changes. This set attempts to pull together some of Young’s influences, and it manages to be just as diverse as the man himself, with tracks ranging from Link Wray’s “Rawhide” to Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely,” Bert Jansch’s “Blackwaterside” and John Coltrane’s “Theme for Ernie,” to songs Young has covered on various projects himself like Don Gibson’s “Oh, Lonesome Me” and Ian & Sylvia’s “Four Strong Winds.” It’s a well-sequenced set, and it’s fun wondering what song will come out of the speakers next, but it really doesn’t bring the enigmatic Young into clearer focus. He is, put simply, an original, whatever his various musical touchstones might be.

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