Mountaintop will have a one-night national release on October 22, 2019. Check the official site for a theater near you.

The last time we checked in with the singer/songwriter Neil Young, he had just done a two-night concert in Nashville after recovering from surgery for a brain aneurysm. Jonathan Demme directed the 2006 documentary on that event, Heart of Gold. After 50 years of making music, often with the band Crazy Horse, you would think that Young, now 73, would be running on empty. But that's certainly not true, from the evidence in this new documentary.

This in-the-studio film focuses on Young with Crazy Horse making their first album in seven years. We are taken inside the Studio in the Clouds outside Telluride, Colorado, where the musicians occasionally take hits of oxygen to cope with the altitude of over 8,000 feet. The setting may explain some of the irritations and frustrations that surface throughout the sessions — often directed toward the engineer and producer, John Hanlon.

But Young's irritability is easily excused once he starts singing his thought-provoking lyrics with his distinctive voice. His penchant for presenting something completely different is delivered by drummer Ralph Molina who tap dances on a sound board for "Eternity." Master guitarist Nils Lofren (also a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band) trades long riffs with Young, also on guitar. Billy Talbot contributes some passionate vocals along with his bass guitar work. At one point, they bring out a glass harmonica, originally designed by Benjamin Franklin, to add a distinctive sound.

The result of this work is the album Colorado by Neil Young with Crazy Horse, being released by Reprise Records on October 25. Of the ten songs, our favorites are:

  • the romantic and melodic "Milky Way"
  • "She Showed Me Love" with the challenging lyric "I saw old white guys trying to kill Mother Nature"
  • the haunting climate change anthem "Green Is Blue" in which the musicians lament "There's so much we didn't do"
  • the jaunty "Eternity" where they rejoice in waking up in a "house of love"
  • the hopeful "I Do," where they ask "Why do I believe in you?" and answer "I know you care . . . I know you ask all the same questions I do."

But the standout, already released, is "Rainbow of Colors." It celebrates diversity in the country and attacks those who would build walls to keep people apart. Reflect on these lyrics:

There's a rainbow of colors
In the old USA
No one's gonna whitewash
Those colors away

Now I know some might tell me
there's not room for all
And they
should just go back
To the places they fall
Where their lives lie there broken
With no chance left at all
And the leaders have spoken
On that side of the wall

There's a rainbow of colors
In the old USA
No one's gonna whitewash
Those colors away

But this I can tell you
We the people are strong
And we know that our brothers
And our sisters in song
Will always sing with us
And will always be strong
When the people have spoken
And the walls are all gone

-- "Rainbow of Colors" by Neil Young