There are some artists out there that literally command respect from any scene they walk into from everyone involved. I will not pretend to be Neil Young’s number one fan because I am far from it. I personally find his solo material to be a little too preachy for my taste. But, that is simply my preference and should not be anyone’s final determination on Neil Young’s nearly 6 decade career. Bottom line, even if you don’t like all of his music, Neil Young is the man and you WILL respect him.
Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied tells the story of musician who cannot be held down by other people. This was an interesting point in the lining of Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied and really is the main focus of this documentary.
I’ll explain. Writing music is a lot of times a collaborative process. Most musicians just feel it is necessary (and more interesting) to work with other people in a creative process. When the chemistry is right, the results have made history (i.e. RUSH). If the stars align, amazing music has been written as a result. But, in order for all of this to work, all of the subjects involved need to be invested one-hundred percent. This, I personally speak about from a place of experience. Unfortunately, a lot of times in these collaborations, people lose interest or quit altogether to the great frustration of all others involved. This is a running theme of Neil Young’s career. This is summed up by Graham Nash from his statement in Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied, “Yes, he’s had a reputation for leaving people behind, but it was only a musical reason and not a personal reason”.
Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied also illustrates Neil Young’s uncompromising attitude with his music over the years. We learn that what most people would consider a failure artistically, Neil considered a success. It was all about personal satisfaction. Given this information on Neil Young’s attitude as an artist it is staggering to see that he has persevered for nearly six decades unwithered.
Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied would have not lost any steam with another half an hour of footage in it, the more info the better in my opinion. Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied, however, is a fantastic view into the mind of this icon even in its abbreviated format.
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-Scott W. Lambert