WELCOME to the internet home of Neil w Young - songwriter, recording artist and author, aka N.W. Young - author of The Summer Garden and the Song, and the home of Neil's record label, Restless Wind Records.
A songwriter since 1959 when in high school, a member of ‘no name’ garage bands through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, a member in 2002 of Downtown Jam in Toronto participating in weekly make-up bands, and with 5 albums and several single releases to his credit, in addition to currently writing Book 3 of his novel The Summer Garden and the Song, Neil is working with his producer, Juno nominee Ray Lyell, preparing to record more songs that he has written.
Neil has written all of his single mp3 releases and all the songs on his 5 CD albums except for "Call Me The Breeze" and "For You" both licenced on his Dreams In The Wind CD album, as well as the first 14 cover songs (licenced) on his Those Were The Days CD album, and "Loch Lomond" in the public domain on his Old Memories CD album. He has more songs that he has written that he plans to release as mp3 singles as well as plans for a possible special LP vinyl album.
In 2019, Neil was nominated in the IAIA (International Academy of Independent Artists) Golden Kayak Awards for Best Male Artist, Best Alternative Song "Dreams in the Wind", Best Classic and Progressive Rock Song "Rock This Place", Best Country Song "Another Twenty Miles", Best Folk/Acoustic Rock/Americana Song "1959", and Best Miscellaneous Song "The Promised Land of Paradise", all songs on his album, Dreams In The Wind, released in April 2019.
Neil was honoured to receive his third Golden Kayak Award January 14, 2018 for "Best Song 2017" in the Miscellaneous awards category for his cover of “Hey Boba Lou" written by Robbie Robertson, Ronnie Hawkins and Jacqueline Magill. The song is on Neil's Those Were The Days CD album.
He was particularly honoured by the hand-written letter he received in August 1986 from Harriet Nelson, Rick Nelson's mother, thanking him for the song he wrote about Rick the night he and his fiancé and band were killed in a plane crash in Texas New Year's Eve December 31, 1985. The letter is framed and hangs in Neil's music room next to autographed pictures of many of the 1950's recording stars.
Neil's roots are deep country, proudly reflecting his early years growing up on the family farm in part of the now slowly disappearing tobacco farming heartland of south western Ontario.
It was during his high school years beginning in the mid 1950's when Neil's love of the music inspired by the era of the dawning of Rock 'n' Roll ignited his passion as a songwriter and singer. It was not until decades later after he had "retired" from a 35-year entrepreneurial business career that he had the opportunity to give himself the room to let that light begin to shine and to follow his dream that was crystallized in 1959.
In reminiscing and reflecting back on when “it” all began, Neil wistfully recalled, "In the early 1960's, I temporarily – or so I thought, put on hold an opportunity to seriously pursue a music career. At the time, I was studying under the mentorship of Gerry Risser at his Counterpoint School of Music and Recording Studio. Gerry was a product of the birth of rock 'n roll in the 1950's getting his start playing guitar in 'The Mel-O-Denes', a rock band in his home-town of London Ontario. From that start, Gerry performed with The Capers - a London group that included drummer Garth Hudson who went on to perform with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks and later with The Band. The Capers had their own TV show on CFPL Channel 10 in London. Gerry landed a recording contract in Detroit and had personal appearances with such artists as The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, Jimmy Rogers, Bill Haley & The Comets, Johnny Cash and others.
"Gerry studied classical guitar with Julian Bream at the Bream Masters Class, and was also a good friend of Chet Atkins traveling often to Nashville to further hone his craft under the watchful eye and tutorship of the master himself, 'Mister Guitar'.
‘It wasn't long into my time studying music with Gerry that he offered me a job as a guitar instructor in his studio to help keep up with the growing list of eager ‘wannabe rock 'n' roll stars’ signing up for lessons at The Counterpoint. I was honoured that he had that much confidence in me although I did not share that confidence in myself. For some unknown reason that I still cannot explain, I turned down the offer. Had I not turned it down, who knows what doors might have opened that could have seen my dream come true 50 years sooner.
"Still, it truly was a privilege to have had that early training with Gerry and to have gained his confidence in me. Looking back all these years later I was fortunate in a way to have come so close to being in the company of legends at the time.
“I purchased my first electric guitar from Gerry in 1964 - A Hagstrom III. I still have the guitar and it still plays an important role in my world of music.
"Looking back now I see the times when I was much closer, actually rubbing elbows with other legends than I gave myself credit for at the time, or that might even have launched my own career much earlier. During my prolific song writing years of the late 1970's and 1980's, an opportunity to meet Fats Domino back stage after a show in 1984 led to my arranging to take vocal lessons from a vocal coach in Toronto who shortly after I began lessons with her told me that Paul Anka's father had reached out to her to arrange vocal lessons for Paul, which sounded absurd to me as I though Paul Anka was such a great singer that he should be giving vocal lessons himself! As far as I knew then and still know, she did give some lessons to Paul. Nevertheless, while I was still taking lessons from her and in taking a break to go to Las Vegas, she had called Paul Anka's father, Andy Anka, who was managing a restaurant there that Paul owned, Jubilation, told him that my wife and I were coming to Vegas that I was to give him a call when we arrived and he would treat us to dinner at Jubilation. I don't remember now the reason why we were unable to take Mr. Anka up on his kind offer, but I did call and speak to him to express our thanks and regrets. He took down my address and a few weeks after we returned home an 8 x 10 picture of Paul personally autographed to me by Paul arrived in the mail.
That was such a long time ago that I now cannot remember the name of the lady who was giving me vocal lessons at that time.
"Later in the 1980's I met Bobby Vinton of "Blue Velvet" fame and Califonnia surf music legends Jan & Dean - "Surf City", "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" and other hits and arranged several shows for Bobby at Lulu's in KItchener, Ontario known at the time s having the longest bar in the world and for Jan & Dean in Peterborough, Ontario.
"I seen shows and been to concerts of so many great artists that I would be hard pressed to remember half of them, all eing instrumental in my song writing and eventual move to turn professional so many years after having been bitten by the bug so to speak in the late 1950's.
"Such is life on the edge of the fishbowl."
From tumbleweeds drifting along old Route 66 and flashy 1950's convertibles, to rusted-out flatbed trucks and walking down railroad tracks, it is hard not to picture Johnny Cash here. Even more so with Neil's self-effacing western lilt and a soft southern drawl influenced in part during his teens while toiling in summer sun-baked Southern Ontario tobacco fields alongside his co-workers from the Carolina's and Georgia.
Neil was a nominee in the 2008 Hamilton Music Awards for New Country Recording of the Year for his debut album No Looking Back, and in the 2012 Hamilton Music Awards for Alt/Country Recording of the Year for his album What Difference Will It Make released in July 2012.
Bobby Lawson, Rockabilly Hall of Fame member, said the following about Neil's debut CD No Looking Back:, "A great CD, these are eleven great songs, beautifully written and sung. Neil puts his all in these songs, from the heart and from the soul. I recommend this CD and Neil w Young to everyone who likes it country."
Evie Romero Montoya, a new friend on MySpace at the time, wrote to Neil in June, 2009, expressing her feelings about his music saying, "Your music takes me back to those times in my life that I now see as idyllic, the times my mother traveled with us girls through the deserts of the west, and along the train tracks of another era. I wanted to let you know that it isn't often one encounters something in this life that lights the path of the soul. I have always needed ruggedly wild and beautiful landscapes to pull me through this life, and your music has become one of the maps for my journey."
Christian Lamitschka, Country Home - Germany’s Premier Country Music Magazine, wrote the following about Neil's debut album No Looking Back, "Some dreams come thru really late, but then when it happens, the joy is much bigger. And even the man is over 50, he has the energy of a 25 year old. His songs have an honesty that hasn't been heard in a long time.”
Prior to following his passion over the last 15 years as a songwriter, recording artist and author, Neil had a successful 35-year entrepreneurial business career.
Included in Neil's list of accomplishments during that period of his varied business interests and activities in real estate development and investment, was being the first developer in 10 years to receive approval for a housing development in the then Township of Brantford when he received the green light in 1974 to proceed with the development of Royal Highland Estates considered today as one of the finest housing developments in the County of Brant, as well as having owned and completed the restoration of two architectural and historically significant buildings in the heart of downtown Brantford, Ontario. In addition, Neil founded and served as executive director & team / tour manager of world touring Rhapsody On Ice - an international touring troupe of precision / synchro ice dancers that he took around the world for seven years in his "spare" time between 1985 and 1992, traveling to and performing in Australia; New Zealand; across the U.S in Florida, Arizona, California and Hawaii, including countless performances in Ontario and in Edmonton, Alberta, followed by tours to England, Spain, Hong Kong and Denmark. In recognition of his role in Rhapsody On Ice, in June 2019 Neil was inducted along with members of the troupe in the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition located at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ontario.
In the latter years of his entrepreneurial career, Neil received a film credit for his part as Special Consultant in the 2003 documentary Piaf … Her Story … Her Songs, about the life of French chanteuse, Edith Piaf. Neil's involvement in the Piaf documentary took him to George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch studios in California.
A Western Ontario Secondary School Honour Athlete in 1960 and a graduate of Burford District High School, Neil graduated in 1964 from Waterloo Lutheran University / Waterloo University College Faculty of Arts now known as Wilfred Laurier University.
He purposely spells his name "Neil w Young" with his middle initial "w" always appearing in the lower case with no period - a step he took to create a "branding" style for his name, as well as wanting to be seen standing apart in the world of music from his more accomplished countryman three years his junior who shares the same first and last name with him, and who he greatly respects.
Neil adds his own words here saying, "My sincere thanks and appreciation to all for the interest and support of my songs and music, and to all of the outstanding musicians and artists on my albums to whom I shall be forever grateful, and to my many friends and fans around the world, and to my small family for their undying love and support, for without you all, I would not be what I am today."
All photographs and other images posted on this web site and all other web sites where Neil’s music and books are hosted or available are governed by copyright laws protecting the unauthorized use and / or distribution of proprietary material, and may not be used, copied or distributed in any manner for any purpose without Neil's written approval.
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