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Neil Young’s Road Life Chronicled in ‘Journeys’ Film

Neil Young
Cameron Spencer, Getty Images

Neil Young and Jonathan Demme have been through this before. But the singer and the filmmaker needed a fresh approach after teaming up for two previous performance concert film releases.

Demme tells Billboard, “We experimented with taking this little road trip from the little town in north Ontario to see if it that might provide us with something. It turned out that it provided us with a whole other storyline that would make this different from the other two films and all other performance films, from what I can see.”

Young says that for ‘Neil Young Journeys‘ he pretty much just had to play the songs, but he credits Demme with framing the film to include the trip in the car to the show. He adds, “It’s not like a normal show – the show is like a play. It’s a one-man, one-act play, but it’s not like a concert where I would be spinning around doing whatever I wanted to do. Everything about this show was planned out like a play usually is. I knew what songs I was going to do. I knew where I would be walking, what instruments I would be playing, when they were going to come out and adjust the amplifier and bring out different guitars. I knew all of those things because that was the play.”

Demme says unlike the other two films, the viewer loses out on the camaraderie that Young has with other band members, as this one was shot on his 2010 ‘Le Noise’ solo album tour. But, he adds, the good news was that it allowed for a closer look at Young in his element. He explains, “We had Neil undistracted by any other instruments. It permitted him to immerse himself in the character of these songs in a way that couldn’t be possible if you’re hearing other people play. That gave us our biggest, unavoidable distinction [from the previous two films].”

When the film hits theaters, audiences may be treated to something a little special to enhance the experience. Young says, “I understand Sony is equipping some of the theaters [with high end] sound systems. There are two soundtracks for this – one at 48kz, which is the normal sound standard, and the other at 96, which is halfway toward the top standard.”

The new movie, ‘Neil Young Journeys,’ arrives in theaters June 29 after completing the film festival rounds this month. The film follows the recent release of Young’s ‘Americana‘ album.

Watch the ‘Neil Young Journeys’ Trailer

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