Neil Young's 1992 "Harvest Moon" is the followup to his most commercially successful album "Harvest" - 20 years later.
"Harvest Moon" was recorded with many of the same original musicians who appeared on "Harvest", such as Ben Keith, on pedal steel guitar, and Linda Rondstadt and James Taylor on backing vocals. The intentional sequel nature of "Harvest Moon" created high expectations which for the most part were fulfilled. The album was accompanied with music videos and extensive interviews. All indicators of both the record label Reprise's support and even the normally reticent Young himself.
On a Canadian radio interview, Young denied that 'Harvest Moon' was a sequel to 'Harvest':
"The whole idea of following up the 'Harvest' album is
something that's contrived more from the standpoint of
record companies, and mostly questions. You know, people
see the correlation between the two, and it's kind of a
plus to be able to refer back 20 years and see the same
people and do that. But the thrust of the albums is
different, even though the subject matter is similar, so
I tend to shy away more from comparisons between them -
they're reference points for one another. I mean, people
who have never heard of 'Harvest' may really like Harvest Moon and
may end up referring back to 'Harvest' because of all this
conversation about how the two of them go together..."
"Harvest Moon is the quintessential down-home-mom's-apple-pie
American folk album. It's one of the few Neil Young albums that you can share
with the one you love, along with a bottle of something nice, without having
to apologetically hit the fast forward button or move the tracking arm
But not all fans agreee that "Harvest Moon" is one of Neil's finest albums. Dave Sigler writes in a Harvest Moon album review :
"In my opinion, there is not a single cut on 'Harvest Moon' that does not sound better in its 'original state: solo acoustic. Neil has always said he prefers simplicity. Always the advocate of live recording whether it be in the studio or the concert hall, Neil has always been able to capture the essence of his music at its most spontaneous. There is nothing on 'Harvest Moon' that strikes me as spontaneous...or even close. It is the kind of slick, overly produced product that record companies dream about. Reprise must certainly be happy with it. With its heavy country sound, 'Harvest Moon' arrives just in time to (hopefully) capture a share of the market in the current country/western music fad/phase we seem to be in the midst of. "
"'Harvest Moon' is often regarded as the follow-up to 'Harvest' but I hardly think it is a clear-cut affair. It is less ambitious in its scope (after Young's genre confusion in the eighties) but its modesty is also the key to its success. I guess the fact that the Stray Gators return to the fore echoes 'Harvest' but the arrangements on here are mainly acoustic based and only at times sound like his unfairly critically savaged watershed release. 'Comes a Time' is a more accurate comparison, if you ask me, although the musical themes on this album are more varied. The songwriting is certainly as strong as Comes a Time although not every song is a veritable masterpiece."
"The 'simple man' image of Harvest Moon may become a tad overplayed at times -- especially on songs like 'Dreamin' Man' and 'One Of These Days' -- but it never seems to become overbearing. Neil Young often misrepresents himself as a plain man, but this album proves his more simple approaches to songwriting can often yield his most perfectly enjoyable results."
"Simplicity has always been one of Young's greatest strengths and weaknesses, so while he occasionally merely re-creates the moon-eyed dreamer of yore, he has surrounded his meditations in some of his simplest, most gorgeous melodies in years. This is Young taking stock, recalling old friends in One Of These Days, paying tribute to a departed hound in Old King and apparently re-evaluating his marriage in a succession of heartwarming, sometimes troubled love songs.
Best of all are the opening Unknown Legend and the title track, tender shuffles with celebratory choruses that rekindle old flames while acknowledging the passing of time. Nostalgia is often the last resort of scoundrels but Harvest Moon is ultimately not content to be Harvest 2, even as it re-affirms and re-examines Young the naif romantic, still dreaming after all these years."
"Harvest Moon, on the other hand, is a chronicle of survival, focusing on loss and compromise and the ultimate triumphs of being a married father approaching fifty. It's full of bittersweet tributes to lost friends, dead hounds and love grown old. 'What this album is about is this feeling, this ability to survive and continue and grow and get higher than you were before,' says Young. 'Not just maintain, not just feel well. Not just 'I'm still alive at forty-five.' You can be more alive.'"
Also, here's a collection of album reviews and commentary of Neil Young's Harvest Moon.
Harvest Moon review in FUNHOUSE! by Uncle Dave and track listing