Last night Neil Young stood in front of myself and others after winning a Juno for Adult Alternative Album of the Year for Le Noise and told us he wasn’t one for award shows. In fact, last night was his first appearance at the Juno’s in nearly three decades. He was very clear, however, that he appreciated winning awards… and that the older he got, the more he appreciated them. But I understood what he meant. Music is about the music – not the award – as each individual listener is a judge of his/her own.
As Canada’s celebrated artists, like Shad and Johnny Reid, made their way to the mic to answer our questions in the media room, one thing became clear. Although they didn’t necessarily share the same feeling about awards ceremonies as Neil Young, they shared the same sentiments about their music. In fact Johnny Reid made the comment, “I just make songs. It’s up to you (the media) to put them where they end up.”
By the end of the night I was exhausted and fell asleep on my laptop back at the hotel. Of course carrying nearly 45 pounds of equipment around with me all day hadn’t helped. The trip wasn’t over, however. I remembered getting a request from the small town of Stratford to host InRetro’s next Coffee House Series event. I figured it wasn’t too much out of my way so I ventured out. What a beautiful town. It’s cold but sunny and the streets are bare at this out-of-Shakespeare season… but moments later I found everyone in the cafes congregating, catching up, planning the week ahead… and listening to music.
As I drove away – one of the great Neil Young songs just happened to come on the radio. And I remembered what he said just the night before. The awards gala was nice. And it was great seeing all of the artists in person. But what I love most is hearing their music. And it doesn’t matter where I am.
Watch what Neil Young said after receiving the Adult Album of the Year Award at the 2011 Juno Awards: