Pegi Young, the wife of folk troubadour Neil, is not just a female backup singer for her husband any longer. Instead, her new album, Foul Deeds, paired with her self-titled debut in 2007, proves that she is far more than a one-trick-pony; more like a true Crazy Horse.
Young is the classic example of a late-blooming artist, releasing her first album in her 50’s. But, don’t let age fool you. In response to her age Young says, “I’m 57, so I’m never gonna be the next big thing, but I’m cool with that. If I was younger, I might be more focused on the commerce part of it. But I’m not a 20-year-old trying to make a living, so I don’t have to conform to some record company’s idea of whatever they’re looking for that week. In that way, I guess I can be truly independent and focus on the creative part. I have no idea where it will go from here, but I’m having fun and I feel really, really good about what I’ve done so far.”
While Young was too shy to do anything past amateur recording when she was younger, she began pursuing music only 10 years ago after her kids were grown. As a back-up singer for her husband, she was exposed more to music and was able begin recording her own songs.
As Young says in her quotation above, she does not need to conform to any record company’s idea and therefore can be independent. This is certainly reflected in her music. Her maturity inspired by life experiences is highlighted in her lyric and song. It is as if she just simply skipped the “growing up” portion that most musicians need to go through, and went straight into clean, fulfilling performances. Young knows who she is and it shows. I have so much respect for musicians who let everything out in their craft.
“Foul Deeds seemed like a good album title, because this record definitely has its share of dark themes… divorce, debauchery, disillusionment and despair,” Pegi Young says of her second album and first for Vapor Records. “But I’m not trying to be a bummer. I’m just trying to tell some stories and make music that I can get behind.”
And, isn’t this a breath of fresh air. Young tells it straight. So many musicians today put on a musical façade, refusing to reveal themselves. Young, while she may have been shy when she was younger, is recording music that she, “can get behind.” Music that she knows is real.
Foul Deeds is full of creative originals and fantastic covers. Her originals represent her grasp on heavy emotional issues and mastery over the folk style.
Young also concentrated on the flow of the album, a concept that is commonly forgotten about today. “I’m still a big believer in the old idea of a record being a complete experience,” Young asserts. “So it matters to me that the songs have thematic relevance, and that somehow it tells some kind of story. Maybe people don’t really listen to records as a whole anymore, and you can work on the sequencing till the cows come home but they’ll still put it on shuffle and it doesn’t matter. But it matters to me, and this group of songs just seem to make sense together.”