365 Days of the Unoriginal, Day 79 Wants To See You Dance Again With Neil Young

Apparently, my subconscious has decided that it’s Neil Young Week on the ol’ Challenge, and has inflicted itself on the rest of my poor, addled brain. The last one was sort of a no-brainer (Heart of Gold) — I’ve been singing or playing it at jams for a while now. The hardest part of that one, in the end, was mixing the fiddle ride, which I did poorly, I confess. It was much too loud, and I didn’t feel like going back to fix it.

Today, though, I decided to try something that would force me to learn to do something new on the guitar: “Harvest Moon.” I’ve done backing vocals on this song with a number of different bands (usually as a Bluestem Player behind the amazing Andy Juhl), but I’ve never played the guitar on it myself. I’ve always treated it as a special mystery of guitar playing that did not need my ham-fisted attempts at replication. It was about time to fix that attitude, so I dug up some good tab and had at it.

Surprisingly, I think it turned out pretty well. The riff and harmonic progression weren’t as difficult to learn as I had feared they would be (although I wouldn’t dare to do it live right now — I still need more practice to feel safe with it). The fiddle ride went better in this one than in my other Neil Young attempt, and I decided to use a drone on the devil’s instrument instead of a vocal “ooooooh” in parts of the verses. The bass was a little wacky — I just didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do in the chorus, so I ended up guessing a lot. What’s really missing, though, is something special to Mr. Young’s voice that I can’t do — there’s a kind of fragility, a delicacy about the way he sings this song (fairly high in his voice) that I wish I could’ve matched, because I think it really makes the thing work. It makes it sound genuine, where I only make it sound smooth.

Huh. Now what?

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About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. Otherwise, I labor to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
This entry was posted in A Monumental and Daunting Task, covers, Garage Band is the BOMB, YouTubification. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 365 Days of the Unoriginal, Day 79 Wants To See You Dance Again With Neil Young

  1. Adam says:

    Great song, excellent cover, lovely timbre in your voice.

    Like

  2. Thanks! Glad you liked it!

    Like

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