Neil Young will release a new studio album Hitchhiker, originally recorded almost 41 years ago to the day in 1976, on August 4, 2017, via Reprise Records, and it will be available on vinyl, CD, and via digital formats. The latter, of course, will include a hi-res option as per Neil’s penchant, though we don’t know yet if it will appear on Xstream, Neil’s hi-res streaming service born out of Pono.
The 10-track all-acoustic album was recorded live in the studio on August 11, 1976, at Indigo Studios in Malibu, California, and it contains some of Young’s best-loved songs, plus two previously unreleased tracks.
The original Hitchhiker session was produced by Young’s longtime studio collaborator David Briggs with new post-production by John Hanlon, who has worked with Young since 1990 and produced his most recent works, including Peace Trail, Earth, and The Monsanto Years.
As the songs for Hitchhiker were recorded in a single session, the resultant performances are said to be “truly breathtaking and passionate. The simplicity of a single voice and guitar captured here are as pure and powerful as the creator intended, with only Young and Briggs in the room at the time of recording.”
Many of the songs would not appear on vinyl until years later. The title track, for example, did not officially appear until 2010’s Le Noise, sounding worlds apart from the original. The version herein of “Captain Kennedy” has certain raw spontaneity compared to the slightly gentler version that would eventually surface on Hawks & Doves in 1980.
Perhaps the most noticeable jewels in the crown of Hitchhiker are the two previously unreleased tracks which have remained in the vaults since 1976: 1) “Hawaii,” a soaring ballad and said to be unlike anything else Young had recorded at the time, and 2) “Give Me Strength,” which would occasionally be performed live in the mid-’70s, but is now available here for the first time.
HITCHHIKER – TRACK LISTING
5. Give Me Strength