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NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD

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Among Neil Young's musical personas, that of the pedal-steel balladeer feels most approachable. Or so director Jonathan Demme makes it seem in this elegant, unhurried document of a 2005 Nashville concert upon the release of Young's elegiac album Prairie Wind. Joined by an extended family of old musical compadres -- and at times by the Memphis Horns and a gospel choir -- Young performs a soulful two-hour set in his distinctive country-hybrid style, often from behind a guitar he claims belonged to Hank Williams. "I know I never burned any bridges, but I know I left some things go," sings Young, and regret and reflection hold sway; the most upbeat number, "King," is a eulogy for a pet dog. But if such themes eventually weigh a little heavily, the lyrics can be as wise as they are sad, and the music is as reliable as a lifelong friend. Manor (BO)

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