"Only a dream
And it's fading now
In spring 2005, singer/songwriter Neil Young discovered he had a potentially fatal brain aneurysm. Prairie Wind is the album he wrote in the weeks following that bombshell, performed here under the loving gaze of director Jonathan Demme. Young clutches his battered guitar ('on loan' from the late Hank Williams) on the Nashville stage that was once home to the Grand Ole Opry; Heart of Gold is all about looking back.
Neil Young the artist has always striven to defy expectation. Whenever he found himself in the middle of the road, he headed straight for the nearest ditch. But faced with his own mortality he seems less desperate to push the envelope and perhaps more comfortable in his own skin. Prairie Wind is a collection of gentle, reflective country-folk songs that fit snugly alongside well-known hits from the Harvest and Harvest Moon albums. Demme's eight static cameras focus only on Young and his band, including wife Pegi, guitarist Ben Keith and the ethereal Emmylou Harris, providing a detail-rich concert experience of unreal intimacy.
"ANECDOTES REMAIN WITH YOU"
Neil Young's words have always had poignancy. Thankfully, the stories told between songs in Heart of Gold did not prove to be his last. Nevertheless, it's these anecdotes that remain with you long after the film has ended; the tale behind the song Old Man in particular. As himself or under his 'Shakey' moniker, Neil Young has experimented with film many times, but this is by far the most accessible cinematic treatment of his music; a troubadour at the top of his game.