Love Letter To A Record: Henry Wagons On Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Henry Wagons – Harvest by Neil Young (1972)

Dear Harvest,

I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for being there for me so often. I only hope you’re not tired of hitting my turntable so often. I can only imagine that damn needle would chafe.

From the very first notes of ‘Out On The Weekend’, that soft punch of the drums, the confident but warm chug of the acoustic guitar. Neil’s voice, fragile and approachable. I feel held, cradled from the world and immediately transported into my happy place.

There are so many things I admire about you. Firstly, every time I have to reach for the volume knob when I put you on, I’m reminded about how much Neil Young ignored the “loudness wars”, never compromising the sonic narrative. Relatively speaking, this album is soft but SO dynamic. ‘Old Man’, starts with such a whisper, but by the last chorus is an apocalyptic, mortality facing, 3:35am barn dance.

Also, Harvest sounds so completely wild, in a crazy way…yet somehow completely cohesive! How do you do it!!? It should not work! ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ is solo, live at UCLA. A lot of the other songs are recorded with a spontaneously created pick-up band, playing the songs for the first time, tracked in a small studio in Nashville. Others are lavishly recorded with full orchestra, no expense spared, timpani and gongs galore. Others are in Neil’s ol’ barn at home, and you can feel the walls of the room flutter in the songs. It’s a massive and fascinating journey for the ears, through different spaces and times…and I’m riding shotgun with you the whole way.

I’ll put you on when I don’t know what to put on, and you always deliver. Sometimes I specifically need to hear you, when I need to hold something familiar and kind, and you always deliver.

Maybe brace yourself, Harvest. All this talking to you is making me wanna drop that sharp as Hell needle right back on you again.

Yours, in devotion,

Henry Wagons

Wagons’ new album ‘Songs From The Aftermath’ is out this Friday 9th August. They’ll be touring Australia this September. Dates below.

Wagons 2019 Australian Tour Dates

Friday, 6th September

Croxton Bandroom, Thornbury (VIC)

Tickets: Wagons Music

Saturday, 7th September

Waratah Hotel, Hobart (TAS)

Tickets: Wagons Music

Friday, 13th September

The Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney (NSW)

Tickets: Wagons Music

Saturday, 14th September

The Milk Factory, Brisbane (QLD)

Tickets: Wagons Music

Friday, 27th September

Crown & Anchor, Adelaide (SA)

Tickets: Wagons Music

Saturday, 28th September

Mojo’s, Fremantle (WA)

Tickets: Wagons Music

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