The Song: “Crazy Horse” The Band: Onward, Etc., a violin-toting punk band led by Rosco Wuestewald. Fun Fact: Their new album, Sonder On boasts cameos from former members of Social Distortion, and Flogging Molly. Songwriter Says: Get ready for a history lesson. “I recall as a young child growing up in Eastern South Dakota my father always taught me to stand up for myself and fight for what you love,” Wuestewald explains in an e-mail. “The way of life he taught me has stood the test of time and I still live by my fathers teachings. I wanted to write a song about just that but portray it in a different way. We used to vacation out West and spend time in Custer National Park and as a boy I remembered seeing the monument of ‘Crazy Horse’ and how beautiful it was. Later in life learning the story of The Battle Of The Little Big Horn I became even more inspired by this story. Crazy Horse led his army against 700 men in the U.S. Calvary. They were fighting for what they had loved. There land, there children, there beliefs and of course there life. The encroachment led them to become “crazy” and to stand up for themselves. This battle led to what is known as ‘Custer’s Last Stand.’ The courage inside this story reminded me of my father’s words and out spilled ‘Crazy Horse.’
Billy Talbot Band: On The Road To Spearfish Billy Talbot Band On the Road to Spearfish (Vapor) Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Neil Young’s long time bass playing compadre in Crazy Horse isn’t the most prolific frontman; this is only his second solo album and it comes nearly a decade after his debut. It’s also a long way from sounding Crazy Horse-ish. Perhaps Talbot wanted to take a break from his full time job in the amps-to-11 Horse when he wrote these codeine laced songs enhanced by barely there drums heavily reliant on hushed tom toms and a funeral horn section with tempos best described as drugged out. But far from being a somnambulant ride, this is deeply affecting music which, when given a chance to sink in, displays Talbot’s heartfelt, emotional take on Americana.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse Psychedelic Pill (Reprise) Rating: 3.5 stars
Like a mustang on the loose, it’s been difficult to contain Neil Young and Crazy Horse in the past year. Earlier in 2012, they released Americana, in which they put their own electric spin on classic folk songs and spirituals. Now they’re really running wild with Psychedelic Pill, an unhinged, jam-filled set that stretches over two discs even with only eight songs included.
Neil Young explains the impetus behind his new covers album, Americana:
I started this in about 1964, when I did the first five of the songs, and I was in a band back then, the Squires — before I even met [Stephen] Stills — and we did a lot of these kinds of songs. Never recorded them. And then I got together with Crazy Horse to make a record, and I just finished writing about that time with that band with this book that I’m writing, which is very random — part diary, part projection, part memoir, equal time for past, present, and future, all jumbled together. It comes and goes. So then I got back and went into the studio with Crazy Horse, and I didn’t have any songs of my own. So I said, “Why don’t we do these? I got a bunch of songs in my head, and we can just play them.” So we played them, and we had a great time.
Neil Young has teamed with his longtime band Crazy Horse forAmericana, a new album of (mostly) American folk songs, dubbedAmericana. The album, due out June 5 via Reprise Records, features songs like Tom Dooley, Oh Susannah, and “This Land Is Your Land,” as well as the British national anthem “God Save The Queen,” because hey, it’s Neil Young, and he does whatever he wants. Call it a nod to his punk rock roots (dating back to 1889, when the song was still sung on our shores.)