Singer Neil Young turns 65 this weekend, and a local group of fans are paying tribute to the legendary Canadian artist.
Hosted by local songstress Donna Durand and avid Young fan Rod Trentham, fans are encouraged to drop by open mic event at The Vat Nov. 12 starting at 9 p.m. Local band The Frank will serve as house band for the event as well.
So far, about 18 local musicians have signed on to pay homage to Young through song. Folks are encouraged to dress up in their favourite Neil Young decade as well.
“Not that I was a tomboy, but as a teenager I dressed just like him – work boots, plaid jackets, worn-out Levis because I thought Neil Young was it,” said Durand.
Young began performing as a solo artist in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966 where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash as a fourth member in 1969.
He then forged a successful and acclaimed solo career; releasing his first album in 1968. He’s been described as being one of the most influential artists of his generation.
Trentham has a pile of books chronicling the life and times of Young, plus a collection of shirts from various concerts he has attended over the years. He is also the proud owner of every single Neil Young record except for one – 1989’s Eldorado.
“The first album I bought was 4 Way Street,” says Trentham of the record released by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young back in 1971. “I listened to it and I just loved that album.
“The thing I liked about him was that he didn’t sell out. And he didn’t go disco. At the end of the 1970s, you’ve got Rod Stewart doing disco, the Stones are doing disco – everybody is going disco. He just went a different way.
“The other thing about Neil Young is that it’s always been about collaboration. He’s performed with so many different people over the years,” explains Trentham, adding that Young has always been a consistent supporter of the environmental movement as well – even in the days before it was overly recognized.
In more recent times, Young’s influence on contemporary musicians has been clearly seen. His willingness to be politically outspoken and socially conscious provided influence on Blind Melon, Phish, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana.
According to Wikipedia, Young is also referred to as ‘The Godfather of Grunge’ because of the influence he had on Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder and the entire grunge movement.
The hosts and musicians are volunteering their time for neil65young, and a hat will be passed around with all proceeds going to Neil and Peggy Young’s Bridge School (check out www.bridgeschool.org).
As for Trentham, he’s thrilled to be helping out with an event in honour of an artist he so admires.
And although he’s not a musician himself, or a singer, he just may get up and tackle a Young tune at the open mic.
“It might take a couple of beers,” he laughs.