A Letter Home

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A Letter Home
Neil Young A Letter Home.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 19, 2014
StudioThird Man Recording, Nashville, Tennessee
GenreFolk rock, lo-fi[1]
Length39:25
LabelThird Man
ProducerJack White III, Neil Young
Neil Young chronology
Live at the Cellar Door
(2013)
A Letter Home
(2014)
Storytone
(2014)

A Letter Home is the 33rd studio album by Canadian / American musician Neil Young. It was released on April 19, 2014 on Record Store Day by Third Man Records. The entire album, which consists of covers of classic songs by artists Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot and others, was recorded in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at Jack White's Third Man Records recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Of this method, White said, "we were obfuscating beauty on purpose to get to a different place, a different mood."[2] The opening spoken-word track, and other spoken lines throughout the album, were addressed to Edna "Rassy" Young, Neil's mother who died in 1990.[3][1] A message on Young's website described the album as "an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever".[4][5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic70/100[6]
Review scores
SourceRating
The A.V. ClubB[7]
MusicOMH[8]
AllMusic[9]
Pitchfork6.3/10[10]

The A.V. Club considers A Letter Home one of the best albums of the first half of 2014, calling it the "most surprising record by a guy who's built his career on surprising you".[11]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."A Letter Home Intro" 2:16
2."Changes"Phil Ochs3:56
3."Girl from the North Country"Bob Dylan3:32
4."Needle of Death"Bert Jansch4:57
5."Early Morning Rain"Gordon Lightfoot4:24
6."Crazy"Willie Nelson2:16
7."Reason to Believe"Tim Hardin2:47
8."On the Road Again"Willie Nelson2:23
9."If You Could Read My Mind"Gordon Lightfoot4:04
10."Since I Met You Baby"Ivory Joe Hunter2:13
11."My Hometown"Bruce Springsteen4:08
12."I Wonder If I Care as Much"The Everly Brothers2:29

Bonus tracks from box set singles:

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
13."Blowin' in the Wind"Bob Dylan 
14."Crazy (alternate take)"Willie Nelson 

Personnel[edit]

  • Neil Young - vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
  • Jack White - vocals, piano on "On the Road Again", vocals, guitar on "I Wonder If I Care as Much"

Box set[edit]

The box set includes:

  • 1 standard 12" LP pressed on 180-gram black vinyl
  • 1 "direct feed from the booth" audiophile 12" LP pressed on 180-gram black vinyl
  • Seven 6" vinyl 33 RPM discs pressed on clear vinyl
  • 1 standard CD
  • 1 standard DVD with footage from the recording
  • 1 32-page, 12" x 12" book
  • Download card to redeem the digital album of the "direct feed from the booth" audiophile version

The 7th 6" disc of this set features a version of Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" backed with an alternate take/arrangement of "Crazy"

Audio production[edit]

  • Reproduced by: Jack White III & Neil Young
  • Recorded at: Third Man Records, Nashville, TN
  • Electro-mechanically engineered by: Joshua V. Smith & Kevin Carrico
  • Recorded by: Joshua V. Smith
  • Assisted by: Mindy Watts
  • Recorded to acetate by: George Ingram
  • Mastered by: Bob Ludwig for Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME

DVD production[edit]

  • Directed by: Bernard Shakey
  • Produced by: Will Mitchell
  • Executive Producer: Elliot Rabinowitz
  • Post Production for Shakey Pictures at Upstream Multimedia
  • Edited by: Benjamin Johnson
  • Assistant Editor: Hannah Choe
  • Motion Graphics: Kris Kunz, Atticus Culver-Rease
  • DVD Menu Art Direction: Toshi Onuki
  • DVD Menu Sound Design: Will Mitchell
  • Hand lettering “A Letter Home”: Julian Baker
  • DVD Authoring: DVS Intelestream
  • Clearances: Marcy Gensic

Documentary Film Crew

  • Director of Photography: Benjamin Johnson
  • Sound: Will Mitchell

Artwork[edit]

  • Art Direction & Design: Gary Burden & Jenice Heo for R. Twerk & Co
  • Photo Credits: Front Cover-Will Mitchell, Back Cover- Jo McCaughey

Charts[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Neil Young – vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
  • Jack White – vocals and guitar on "On the Road Again", vocals and piano on "I Wonder If I Care as Much"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Young, Jon (May 27, 2014). "Neil Young Evokes an Imaginary Past, Fetishizes Lo-Fi on 'A Letter Home'". Spin. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  2. ^ Tingen, Paul (October 2014). "Inside Track: Jack White", Sound on Sound. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  3. ^ Fusilli, Jim (May 21, 2014). "When He Was Young". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Greene, Andy (April 18, 2014). "Neil Young's New Covers Album Available Right Now: Surprise!". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  5. ^ Young, Alex (April 18, 2014). "Surprise! Neil Young releases new album, A Letter Home, featuring Jack White". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  6. ^ "A Letter Home Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  7. ^ Cosores, Philip (May 27, 2014). "Album Review". Avclub.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Paton, Daniel (May 27, 2014). "Album Review". musicOMH. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  9. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Album Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  10. ^ Minsker, Evan (May 2, 2014). "Neil Young A Letter Home review". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  11. ^ Bray, Ryan (July 22, 2014). "Bigger and Bitchier: A Superlative Rundown of the Best Records of 2014 So Far". The A.V. Club.
  12. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Neil Young – A Letter Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Neil Young – A Letter Home" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Neil Young – A Letter Home" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Neil Young – A Letter Home" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "Neil Young Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  17. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – Neil Young – A Letter Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  18. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Neil Young – A Letter Home" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  19. ^ "Neil Young: A Letter Home" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  20. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  21. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2014. 22. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ.
  22. ^ "Artisti – Classifica settimanale WK 22 (dal 26-05-2014 al 01-06-2014)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Archived from the original on June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  23. ^ "Irish Albums Top 100 – 29th May 2014". Irma.ie. June 8, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Neil Young – A Letter Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  25. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Neil Young – A Letter Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  26. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Neil Young – A Letter Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  27. ^ 7, 2014/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  28. ^ "Neil Young Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  29. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2014". Ultratop. Retrieved July 14, 2020.