What do David Crosby, Luciano Pavarotti, Bono and Neil Diamond all have in common? Each gentleman is a past honoree as MusiCares Person of the Year. Administered by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and chosen by the MusiCares Foundation, the title is bestowed upon artists to commend both artistic achievement in music and commitment to philanthropy. A tribute is to paid to the recipient with an evening of eclectic performances celebrating his or her legacy. In 2011, the award went to Barbra Streisand, and one year earlier, Neil Young was the honoree. On May 31, Shout! Factory will bring to DVD and Blu-Ray the gala concert celebrating Neil Young’s career as musician and philanthropist, at which Young was joined by such luminaries as Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Elton John, Jackson Browne, and of course, his bandmates David Crosby (the first-ever MusiCares Person of the Year, back in 1991), Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young features all of those performers and more. It will also be featured on MTVs’s HD channel Palladia on Memorial Day Weekend 2011. Hit the jump for the full program line-up and pre-order links!
Young was a natural choice for the MusiCares title. One of the founders of Farm Aid in 1985, Young has remained an active member on the organization’s board of directors. He is arguably even better-known as host and organizer (with wife Pegi) of the annual Bridge School Concerts, a benefit for the Bridge School that he and Pegi helped found. The Bridge School educates students with severe physical and/or speech impairments. The 24th Annual Bridge School benefit last October was marked by the reunion of Young, Richie Furay and Stephen Stills as Buffalo Springfield.
Many of Young’s friends were enlisted for the gala concert preserved by Shout! for home video. James Taylor returns to Young’s “Heart of Gold,” a song on which he originally sang background vocals. Young collaborated with Booker T. Jones on the Stax legend’s 2009 album Potato Hole; Jones returns the favor here, joining forces with Dierks Bentley on “Cinnamon Girl” and Keith Urban and John Fogerty on “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Jackson Browne delivers “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” while Elton John and Leon Russell team with Neko Case and Sheryl Crow on Young’s “Helpless.” (There’s some priceless rehearsal footage of “Helpless” in Cameron Crowe’s new documentary The Union about John and Russell’s joint LP of the same name.)
Alongside Young’s contemporaries are many younger performers influenced by his work. Wilco tackles “Broken Arrow,” Lady Antebellum revives “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and Dave Matthews takes on “The Needle and the Damage Done.” Jason Mraz teams with Shawn Colvin on “Lotta Love,” a hit for Nicolette Larson. Even Josh Groban makes an appearance with “Harvest Moon,” further underscoring the diverse nature of Young’s best music.
A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 31 from Shout! Factory.
- Rockin’ In The Free World—Keith Urban, John Fogerty & Booker T. Jones
- Only Love Can Break Your Heart—Lady Antebellum
- The Needle & The Damage Done—Dave Matthews
- Tell Me Why—Norah Jones
- Cinnamon Girl—Dierks Bentley & Booker T. Jones
- Harvest Moon—Josh Groban
- Ohio—Ben Harper
- Don’t Let It Bring You Down—Jackson Browne
- Broken Arrow—Wilco
- Lotta Love—Jason Mraz & Shawn Colvin
- (When You’re On) The Losing End—Elvis Costello
- Heart Of Gold—James Taylor
- Down By The River—John Mellencamp & T Bone Burnett
- Human Highway—Crosby, Stills & Nash
- Helpless—Elton John, Leon Russell, Neko Case & Sheryl Crow
- Mr. Soul – Ozomatli (*)
- Revolution Blues – Everest (*)
(*) denotes bonus performance