“Death Mettle”

Howard Hampton’s review of Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review is pretty great, as this sample demonstrates:

The importance of friendship for the man who wrote and personified “The Loner” can’t be overstated. Many chapters are really extended thank-you notes, or heartbroken goodbyes to so many comrades in arms who have died. Mortality hangs over the happy wanderings and family gatherings, which is nothing new. Even when he was in his 20s, a refugee from both Canada and Buffalo Springfield, death loomed in his music like a silent partner. It might be the catalyst behind his long, off-and-on collaboration with Crazy Horse, the source of the band’s gravedigger doggedness, burrowing into the earth with single-minded, liberating purpose. With Young, Crazy Horse amounts to an ancient-modern tradition unto themselves: death mettle.

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