Neil Young, ‘A Letter Home’


Aidin Vaziri | Neil Young might be leading the charge against poor audio quality with his new portable music player, Pono, but in typical contrary fashion his latest solo album sounds as if it were made in a tin can. “A Letter Home,” a collection of cover songs, was actually recorded at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville in a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth. After the brutal garage rock of 2012’s “Psychedelic Pill,” this is a curiously low-key affair that finds the singer knocking out wobbly acoustic covers of songs such as Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” and Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” The lo-fi approach gives the whole thing a sweetly endearing sense of warmth, with Young sounding like an apparition who has possessed these songs completely with his soul.