Picks and Pans Review: American Stars 'n Bars
Young has been a sort of sidecar to Crosby, Stills & Nash over the years, a loner-desperado cult figure in California rock. His faithful are clearly undaunted by his trembly whine or his disregard for pitch (some notes sound as if they were sung on a paint mixer). On Stars ‘n Bars, Young offers only one of his bewitchingly lachrymose ballads, Hey Babe, and its lyrics are anything but mysterious: “I know that all things pass/Let’s try to make this last” or “Hey babe, can I count on you/To see me through?” Yet Young’s guitar brilliantly fuses country and rock, particularly on Hold Back the Tears and Bite the Bullet. Ronstadt and Emmylou back him up vocally, as do fine musicians on violin, dobro and pedal steel guitar, yielding Young’s best work in years.