LISTEN: Neil Young’s New Album, Hitchhiker, Takes Us Back Home

by Peter Wendel
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800px-NeilYoungHitchhikerNeil Young’s nostalgic new album, Hitchhiker, takes us back to the good old days – back when the artist was at the peak of his powers.

(Check out the “first listen” stream below from NPR.)

Neil’s new LP draws on previously recorded material – evolving material – from August 11, 1976, at Indigo Studios in Malibu. As NPR’s Tom Moon puts it, “…Hitchhiker is pre-history, offering tunes from Young’s extensive archive in just-past-sketchbook form.”

Don’t miss the solo acoustic version of “Powderfinger” – a stark and lonely rendition of what would become one of Neil’s big rockers. You’ll also get to hear “Ride My Llama,” another song that would eventually appear on Rust Never Sleeps (1979), in its embryonic form. Another of the LP’s works-in-progress is a haunting early version of “Human Highway” that would appear on Comes a Time some two years later.

There’s also never-before-released material: a developing ballad called “Hawaii,” and a powerful traveler’s ode, “Give Me Strength,” which is classic acoustic Neil.

Listen to Hitchhiker in its entirety here at NPR.

Peter Wendel is a journalist and PR consultant. He's attended hundreds of concerts and festivals, including the Peach, Mountain Jam, the All Good and Lockn'. He's ridden legendary Grateful Dead runs from Ventura County Fairgrounds to Irvine Meadows (CA) from the Nassau Coliseum (NY) to the Boston Garden (MA). Peter is a former U.S. Marine who – after running into trouble with every last one of his commanding officers – received an honorable discharge and a direct order never to return. Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Peter lived in Boston and Joshua Tree (CA) before settling in the nation's capital. Find him on tour at