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Neil Young Unearths “A Treasure” On June 14th

Part of the fun, adventure and sport of being a Neil Young fan is that you never really know what you're going to get from Neil....or if you're going to get it at all!

But lately, there have been a flurry of releases from Young and fans of both Neil's music and vinyl in general will be happy to hear that the parade of releases will continue in June with the release of A Treasure, a live country album recorded with The International Harvesters during tour dates in 1984 and 1985. The 12 track live album (featuring five cuts that are previously unreleased) will be released on CD, Blu-ray and digital download on June 14th (pre-order via this link).

A special vinyl edition will be released prior to that, available at Record Store Day retailers and NeilYoung.Com on May 24th.  The vinyl edition of A Treasure was pressed onto 180 Gram double vinyl at Pallas and mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering by Chris Bellman and features three sides of music with a fourth side of vinyl featuring specially etched artwork.

Young himself previews the release in musical mad scientist form with the following 13 minute Youtube video and from the crudely inserted "Blu-ray" voiceovers from Neil, one could almost guess that this release has been in the planning stages for a while (ya think?).

I had the opportunity to hear an advance preview of the album and as you'll hear from the video, which offers a more than adequate tease of the material, A Treasure is going to be a great one for fans to sink their teeth into and even if you're a vinyl hound like me, I think many will want to accessorize and pick up the deluxe Blu-ray package as well!

Here are some additional notes from the official press release....

The 12-track live album, A Treasure includes songs – 5 of which are previously unreleased -- recorded during Young’s 1984 and 1985 U.S. tours without the support of an album or Young’s then record label due to unique and unusual circumstances. Among those, “Grey Riders” will be the first track serviced to radio. A Treasure features Young’s onstage work with some of the greatest artists in the history of country music, including the late, great Ben Keith on steel and slide guitar and Rufus Thibodeaux on fiddle, along with living legends Spooner Oldham and Hargus “Pig” Robbins on piano, Tim Drummond and Joe Allen on bass, and Karl Himmel on drums, among many others. A Treasure is Young’s first release since last year’s Grammy- and Juno Award-winning album, Le Noise.

The live album captures this iconic artist during a fascinating time in his career, when he was facing criticism and lawsuits from his then current record company for exploring a more traditionally country sound. “You can call me erratic,” Young said when asked at the time about his tendency toward musical shape-shifting, “but I’ve been consistent about it, consistently erratic.” Always celebrated for his musical versatility, A Treasure, is akin to a sonic time capsule, instantly transporting the listener to the time and place when it was made. “I love this record,” Young says. “I hadn’t heard these takes in 25 years, but when we unearthed them co-producer Ben Keith said, ‘This is a treasure.’”

Part of what makes A Treasure so compelling is the musical contributions of The International Harvesters, with whom Young was playing at the time. Many of them were already paragons within the country music world and their notoriety has only grown in the years since. “I just love to hear those guys,” Young says. “They’re all country music legends.” Those behind the scenes also made significant contributions to A Treasure’s sonic potency. Tim Mulligan mixed and mastered the tracks. At the time these songs were recorded, Bob Sterne was the tour manager, Tim Foster ran the stage, and Larry Cragg was in charge of the band’s instruments.
A Treasure will be released in several formats, including standard CD, vinyl, digital download with and without videos, and as a deluxe CD/Blu-ray package. The Blu-ray version will feature a curated selection of video that lends context and imagistic power to the tracks. “I like to look at these old live videos and listen to what I think are the best versions of these songs,” Young says. “It’s fun to see what we looked like when we were playing it then.”
The city and track-listing for A Treasure is as follows:

* Denotes Previously Unreleased Track

1          *Amber Jean    (9/20/84) Nashville Now TV - Nashville, TN

2          Are You Ready For The Country?   (9/21/84) Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH

3          It Might Have Been   9/25/84 Austin City Limits TV - Austin, Texas

4          Bound For Glory   9/29/84 Gilleys’s Rodeo Arena - Pasadena, TX

5          *Let Your Fingers Do The Walking  (10/22/84) Universal Amphit - Universal City, CA

6          Flying On The Ground Is Wrong (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA

7          Motor City    (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA

8          *Soul Of A Woman (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA

9          Get Back To The Country   (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA

10         Southern Pacific (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair -  St. Paul, MN

11         *Nothing Is Perfect (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN

12         *Grey Riders    (9/10/85) Pier 84 - New York City, NY