..AND I just learned a new trick! Neil Young! I know, I know..if you are friend of mine you are saying “What? Jamie now likes Neil Young?” Well yes, that’s about it. No world-changing news, but it’s good news all the same.

I had a guitar student Ed Keiser ask me to teach him a few Neil Young tunes and so, of course I did. I have never been a big fan of Neil’s work, truly. The voice was always the most difficult thing to get past for me; and acquired taste. The worst was if he stacked up 3 or 4 harmonies by himself. It sounded like cats screaming to me. Chalk on a blackboard.

But then, because I was asked to learn and teach this music myself I realized wow! “Heart Of Gold”-a radio hit I had long-grown tired of and dismissed, but again, wow! This song is a testimonial to how to write a brilliant, simple piece of music. It’s clever, in how it doesn’t get too clever. Wonderful lyric. What else would you need? Nada.

THEN- “Harvest Moon”. OMG. I always liked this tune from afar, but man! It’s in my personal top ten now. This thing is gorgeous in so many ways. It sounds very simple, but really the is a lot going on here: layers of guitars in different positions and tunings (Drop D-the toughest of all tunings), subtile keyboard work, minimal backup vocals, pocket-drumming, and what a lyric concept!. Neil, I have to take off my hat and bow. This, coming from a man who used to cite him as “a guy I really dreaded to listen to”. Publicly. Many times. I have, dare I say it…grown from this.

So my preach for today is this: keep your mind open always, and looking for new discoveries, even if they may have always been right-there in your own back yard. It’s never too late to “hear” something with Young (sorry, had to) ears, even if they may need amplification at times. Then pat yourself on the back because you’ve learned a new trick. This old dog is wagging his tail today!