CINNAMON GIRL: WOMEN ARTISTS COVER NEIL YOUNG FOR CHARITY.

CINNAMON GIRL: WOMEN ARTISTS COVER NEIL YOUNG FOR CHARITY.

At this time, of year, anyone looking for a compilation is spoiled for choice. Literally, there’s something for everyone. That’s the case whether it’s a lavish, lovingly compiled, budget busting, multi-disc box set, or something  more modest, that you’re after. This week, over one hundred compilations will be released. This includes Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity, which will be rereleased by American Laundromat Records on 4th December 2015.

Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity is no ordinary compilation. It’s been a labor or love for the compilers, with the profits going to a very worthwhile cause, Casting For Recovery, which is a breast cancer charity. Its aim is to enhance the quality of life for women with breast cancer. However, this costs money, money which is hard to come by in the current financial climate.

To help raise some much needed funds for Casting For Recovery,  the Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity has been reissued. It was first released  back in 2008, and featured twenty-one tracks from an eclectic selection of artists. This included everyone from  Tanya Donnelly, Kate York, Josie Cotton and Carmen Townsend, to Julie Peel, Elk City, Louise Post, Kirstin Hersch and Heidi Gluck. These artists cover songs that were released by Neil Young between 1968 and 1979. In many cases, these songs are transformed.

So much so, that even that many people who aren’t fans of Neil Young will be won over by the cover versions on Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity. Especially, the beautiful, acoustic ballads. There a plethora of ballads on Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity. However, neither machismo fuelled guitar heroes, nor proto-grunge. Instead, Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity reinvent Neil Young’s music. That’ll become apparent, as I pick my ten highlights.

Disc One.

Tanya Donnelly’s cover of Heart Of Gold opens disc one of Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity. Heart Of Gold is a Neil Young classic, and resulted in a number one single in America and Canada in 1971. After The Goldrush, the album Heart Of Gold was taken from, reached number seven in Britain and eight in America, and the album  was certified platinum in both countries. Given the song’s history, Tanya Donnelly’s cover has a lot to live up to. While the arrangement stays true to the original, Tanya’s hopeful vocal breathes new life and meaning into the lyrics. By the end of the song, she has done what many would regard as impossible, and reinvented a classic.

With so many songs to choose from, Kate York decided to cover Comes A Time, the title-track to Neil Young’s 1978 album. It reached number seven in the US Billboard 200, and number forty-two in Britain. This resulted in the album being certified gold on both sides of the album. Kate York’s cover is a beautiful, understated interpretation. Her band don’t crowd the vocal, allowing it to take centre-stage, and shine.

Massachusetts based singer-songwriter covers Lori McKenna, whose a veteran of five albums, covers The Needle And The Damage Done. It’s a track from Neil Young’s 1972 album Harvest, which reached number one in Britain and America. This resulted in Harvest being certified triple-platinum in Britain, and quadruple-platinum in America. For Neil Young, this was his most successful album. That’s not surprising, given the quality of songwriting. The Needle And The Damage Done is one of Harvest’s highlights. With a weeping and strummed guitars for company, Lori McKenna brings to life the hurt, heartache and damage done by heroin addition. Her version is truly poignant, moving and heartbreaking.

Chicago based alt-rockers Veruca Salt, chose to cover Burned. It was originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield for their 1966 eponymous debut album. When Neil Young released his Decade retrospective in 1976, the song made a reappearance. Veruca Salt reinvent the song, combining shrieking guitars and a vocal full of attitude. Melodic alt rock heads the direction of proto-grunge, resulting in a fist-pumping anthem.

Canadian singer-songwriter Carmen Townsend closes disc one of Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity with 

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. This was the title-track of Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s debut album. When it was released in 1969, it reached number thirty-four in the US Billboard 200, and was certified platinum. One of the greatest partnerships in music had been born. Carmen Townsend reinvents Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Her vocal veers between rueful wistful and sometimes, is tinged with despair. She’s far from home, and realises is not what she imagined. The result is an irresistible song with rocky hue, that many people will be able to relate to.

Disc Two.

Julia Peel’s cover of I Believe In You is my first choice from Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity. It’s another track from After The Gold Rush. This is the perfect song for Julia Peel, who released her debut album Near The Sun in 1969. Her vocal is tender, heartfelt and hopeful as she sings “I Believe In You.” It’s a truly beautiful paean, made all the better by the addition of the tight harmonies and searing guitar solo that closes the song.

Guitarist and vocalist Sheila Sobolewski founded Luff as a guitar and cello duo. Since then, the band’s lineup has constantly evolved. By the time they covered Tell Me Why, from After The Goldrush, Luff were a trio. Sheila Sobolewski was accompanied by drummer Aleks Gylys and bassist  Mike Hurst. They play their part in maudlin, melancholy, grunge and shoegaze 

inspired cover of Tell Me Why. It’s a mesmeric remake of a familiar track. 

Dala are a Canadian pop folk duo. They released a trio of albums between 2005 and 2009. They cover Ohio, which Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released as a single in 1970. Penned by Neil Young, it was full anger, frustration and social comment. This shines through on Dala’s poignant, and beautiful pop folk cover.

It’s hard to believe that it was in 1984, that Kristin Hersh released her debut album Hips and makes. Back then, Kristin was just eighteen. Fast forward thirty-one years, and she’s now forty-nine, and has released over twenty albums. Kristin has also added author to her impressive C.V. However, back in 2008, Kristin covered Like A Hurricane for Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity. Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded Like A Hurricane for 1977s American Stars and Bars. It reached number twenty-one on the US Billboard 200, and sixteen in Britain. This resulted in the album being certified gold in America, and silver in Britain. Here, Kristin unleashes a pensive, melodic and then grungy cover of a Neil Young classic.

Heidi Gluck’s cover of Walk On closes disc two of Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity. It’s a track from On The Beach, which was released in 1974. Just like American Stars and Bars, On The Beach is a hugely underrated Neil Young album. It reached number sixteen on the US Billboard 200, and forty-two in Britain. This was enough for On The Beach to be certified gold in America, and silver in Britain. Here, Heidi Gluck transforms Walk On into a hook-laden, country-rock anthem. It’s one of many highlights on Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity.

Choosing just ten of the highlights of Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity wasn’t easy. Unlike many compilations, Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity is a case of all killer, no filler. That’s not surprising.

Unlike many similar compilations, a great deal of thought seems to have gone into finding the right song for each artist. Some stay true to the original, others give the song an interesting twist. Many of the songs seem much more suited to female singers. Especially the acoustic songs. However, some of the ladies like to kick out the jams, and are averse to rocking out. There’s everything from grunge, proto-grunge and rock, through Americana, country, folk and pop. Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity is an eclectic compilation; one that many people who aren’t fans of Neil Young will enjoy.

Anyone who has tried to convert Neil Young agnostics or atheists know how hard it can be. Some people find Neil Young is a difficult listen. It’s usually the timbre of his vocal that people struggle with. After a few tracks of a Neil Young classic, they apologetically say, “sorry it’s not for me,” have you any Fleetwood Mac? Sadly, these people are missing out in a back-catalogue full of incredible songs. Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity only covers the period between 1966 and 1979. This was one of the richest periods of Neil Young’s career. Even his underrated albums, including On The Beach and American Stars and Bars would be worthy additions to any record collection. So would Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity which will be rereleased by American Laundromat Records on 4th December 2015.

A copy of Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity would be one way of introducing non believers to the Neil Young songbook. Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity is also an introduction to many singer-songwriters and groups the majority of people haven’t come across…yet. Best of all, the profits to Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity are going to a very worthwhile cause, Casting For Recovery, which is a breast cancer charity. Its aim is to enhance the quality of life for women with breast cancer. So not only is buying a copy of Cinnamon Girl: Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity an opportunity to hear some wonderful music, but on opportunity to make a difference for women suffering from breast cancer.

CINNAMON GIRL: WOMEN ARTISTS COVER NEIL YOUNG FOR CHARITY.

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