Neil Young - Environmental Revolutionary

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Summer in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Colorado Northern Rockies, Photo - Harry Strharsky

Contributing Writer: Kevin Kihslinger - Millennial - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Neil Young is my legend, he is the top of my Mount Rushmore; over 40 studio albums, 8 live albums, and dozens of others with numerous bands. He is my desert island artist and makes me sometimes wonder why I ever listen to anything else. There is an album for any mood, any day, and any situation, and when you are in that jamming mood, there is nothing better than Neil with Crazy Horse.

In 2019 they were back at it again with Colorado, their first album together in 7 years since the release of Psychedelic Pill. A Neil Young with Crazy Horse album always stirs great excitement. Fans always desire a return to the mind melting jams that Crazy Horse has given over the year. “My, My, Hey, Hey”, “Powderfinger”, “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down By the River”, and “Cortez the Killer” are all monster jams that are at the top of Neil’s greatest hits.

Anything short of an album filled with similar songs would be a disappointment to so many, but then so many may have forgotten who Neil really is. He is an artist who has done one thing throughout his career. He has produced the music that he has wanted to produce. He tells the story he wants to tell and plays the music that is in his heart. Those who follow Neil know that right now Mother Earth is what is on his mind and saving this priceless environment is what is in his heart.

the Crags, Forest State Park, Colorado, Summer
The Crags, Forest State Park, CO Photo - Harry Strharsky

Throughout Neil’s career he has used music as an avenue to influence the minds that choose to listen, and why not. Is there anything more powerful and beautiful than music? Nothing else can bring so many different people together at one time. Music knows no language, no race, no color. It is celebrated by the youngest to the oldest and can be created by anyone who lets their mind go. It can make peace, end depression, help you forget, and make you remember. It is a time machine that can take you from your beginning to your end and transport you to places you have not yet gone.

Neil’s career is filled with songs urging us to stand up and fight for the preservation of the beautiful world we live in. “Who’s going to stand up”, “Mother Earth”, “Be the Rain” and yes, “After the Goldrush” are all songs that have called us to fight for mother nature. Neil has sung throughout his career that we need to stand up to big money, to big business, and government corruption and do what is right to leave this planet better than we found it. As Neil has moved through his career, his love for the environment has deepened, his sense of urgency has increased, and his fight to save what gives us all life has strengthened.

Colorado may have no block buster hits, and most likely will not have any songs that make an essential Neil Young play list. However, it is filled with songs that we need to hear right now, songs with direct messages describing the destruction of our world. In “Green is Blue”, which I was fortunate to hear live last January at the Riverside in Milwaukee, contains the line of the album,

“There is so much we didn’t do, that we knew we had to do, and we know why green is blue”.

In fact, the entire song could be posted as a blog by itself.