After rejoining Neil Young’s long-running backing band, Crazy Horse, in 2019, for the album Colorado, guitarist Nils Lofgren was ready to charge off into the Rockies in search of musical gold. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, this self-described “brotherhood” was forced apart, living in isolation throughout the uncertain period that followed – not that you could tell it from All Roads Lead Home, the hopeful, nostalgic album they recorded remotely and which was released, credited to Molina, Talbot, Lofgren & Young, in the early spring of 2023.
“Live and visceral, no headphones; standing right in front of Ralph’s drums, between Billy and Neil, who’s right in front of me – and just going at it. That’s what we’re best at,” Lofgren tells Dig! of the usual Crazy Horse method of working. Yet despite having to record solo tracks separately from each other, the three members of Crazy Horse – Lofgren, bassist Ralph Molina and drummer Billy Talbot – produced a trio of songs each for All Roads Lead Home; topping them off with Young’s one-man acoustic version of the 2021 Barn album highlight Song Of The Seasons, they assembled an organic-sounding collection that belies the conditions of its creation.
Listen to ‘All Roads Lead Home’ here.
“This is what we got up to, to be professional musicians while we weren’t on the road during the pandemic,” Lofgren says. “We all helped each other out and came up with a great compilation. And we’re proud of it.”
“Neil said, ‘Why don’t you take the best of your songs, and I’ll add a track’”
With any tour plans Young and Crazy Horse had skidding to a halt, the group’s restless leader paved the way for All Roads Lead Home as their next shared project. “It was really Neil who gave us the great idea,” Lofgren says. “‘Why don’t you take the best of your songs, pick three and do one great vinyl, and I’ll add a track.’ And at that point, Billy and Ralph sent me all their stuff and said, ‘Look, I’m so close to this, I need a professional opinion.’ And they got it from me, who wasn’t burdened with all the work they did.”
Listening to the songs as a friend and colleague, rather than a contributing musician who had to work up his own parts for each tune, Lofgren was able to give feedback from the vantage of someone who shared decades’ worth of history with his bandmates, but who could respect their creative choices and help see their work through to completion. Digging out some of his own work, Lofgren received the same support, and All Roads Lead Home began to come together.