Molina, Talbot, Lofgren and Young, ‘All Roads Lead Home': Album Review
The recording of Molina, Talbot, Lofgren and Young's All Roads Lead Home came about in a typically inspired and roundabout manner for the longtime Crazy Horse bandmates. As pandemic lockdowns put on hold get-togethers for Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot and Nils Lofgren and their on-and-off collaborator/leader Neil Young, everyone kept making music. It's just that they weren't making it under their usual circumstances or with their usual collaborators.
As spirits and restrictions lifted, they all surfaced with individual new songs made during the downtime and with outside musicians. Drummer Molina has a trio of songs with various performers, bassist Talbot leads the Billy Talbot Band through three, Lofgren's three entries are mostly one-man-band offerings and Young contributes a live solo version of his "Song of the Seasons" from 2021's co-credited Crazy Horse album Barn. The result is a hodgepodge sampling of a Neil Young and Crazy Horse album made by four guys at different places and times.
Since none of the album's 10 tracks include pairings of any two of the artists, All Roads Lead Home essentially plays like four solo records collected in a single home. That makes for a scattered and occasionally unfocused listen, already a characteristic of recent Young and Crazy Horse albums. And without leader Young at the helm, the LP often comes off like something thrown together by a local bar band in their spare time.
There is some ragged appeal to the setup: Guitars crackle and pop, and split duties mean everyone is free to explore new musical avenues. Not that anyone here strays too far from their folk, rock and country comfort zones. That solo intimacy rarely translates to the one-take, mistakes-and-all spontaneity heard on recent Young and Crazy Horse albums, however. So, All Roads Lead Home is a cleaner, more concise listen than 2019's Colorado, Barn and 2022's World Record.
Still, the best songs arrive as individual moments (Talbot's weather-beaten voice on "Rain," the slide guitar assisting Lofgren throughout "You Will Never Know"), rather than as a satisfying whole, though Molina's "Look Through the Eyes of Your Heart" comes closest to classic Crazy Horse, complete with a savage guitar solo. It's enough to tide over fans until Young's next album with the band – which, if recent history is an indication, will be here before long.