Neil Young Says 'It’s Time for Real Change' With Live Release of 'Southern Man'

He shared an updated version of his 1970 classic

June 4, 2020

Neil Young has never shied away from using his music to make a statement.

His 1970 album After the Gold Rush features one of Young’s most famous songs, “Southern Man.”

The song addresses racism towards African Americans in the South and how Southern wealth was built on the backs of slaves.

50 years after its release, Young shared an updated version of the song with reflections on how it applies to current events.

“Here’s me as an old guy singin’ his 50 year old song that was written after countless years of racism in the USA… And look at us today!” he wrote on his Neil Young Archives website along with posting a video of the performance.

“This has been going on for way too long. It’s not just Southern Man now… It’s everywhere across the USA. It’s time for real change… New laws… New rules for policing.”

The performance comes from a longform project Young is hosting on his site called “POLAR VORTEX.”

The project is part film, part album - and features material Young performed at a series of shows in Wisconsin and Minnesota in January 2019 when the area was hit with a massive polar vortex. Despite temperatures reaching as low as −30 °F with windchills hitting −50 °F, Young forged on with the concerts.

Neil Young is gearing up to release a new album nearly 46 years after it was originally recorded. On June 19, Young will release his long-awaited album Homegrown featuring contributions from Levon Helm, Emmylou Harris, Robbie Robertson, and more.

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