Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ethereal, Limpid, Utterly Sincere, Humble Music

I've come across a music DVD so special that I've been trying to figure out how to make a recommendation relevant to a business travel blog. I think I can easily justify it this way:

We should all be armed with reading, listening, and watching material when hitting the road for those occasions when travel potholes break an axle, as so often happens these days. Next time you find yourself stuck on a runway forever, or unexpectedly in a hotel room after O'hare closes (again), or waiting four hours for your airplane to arrive from Philly, fire up your laptop, put on your headphones, and pop in the DVD of Neil Young's HEART OF GOLD.

Then prepare to be taken out of yourself and into another realm of consciousness. Mr. Young's astonishing performance is the perfect tonic to overcome travel anguish.

First, a confession: I was a big Neil Young Fan when I was young. I am now 59. Over thirty years have passed, and I lost touch with him as a musician while my musical taste led me to classic jazz and Delta blues. (For over five years in the 90s I was the Executive Producer for Robert Parker's Jazz Classics In Stereo weekly one hour radio programs on Public Radio International.)

Neil Young recently came back to my attention as one of the owners and developers of a fantastic new electronic control system for Lionel O-gauge model trains called the Legacy system. As an avid model railroader, I was impressed with the Legacy product and especially by Mr. Young's attention to his customer base and commitment to improving the first generation system through direct customer feedback.

Neil Young is completely open to criticism, inviting identification and discussion of all valid issues on a model railroader Internet forum, and then inculcating lessons learned into product optimization. Who does that these days?

Since his music was important to me when I was young and stupid, would it still be, I wondered, now that I am old and stupid?

So I started digging around to see where his career had led him, and I came across this DVD, Heart Of Gold, and I bought it to reacquaint myself with the man and his music. It is a 2006 film of Mr. Young's performance, with friends such as Emmylou Harris, in Nashville, and it was directed by Jonathan Demme, famous for movies like Silence of the Lambs.

I bought the DVD out of curiosity; I was unprepared for my reaction to Mr. Young's performance.

Simply put, it is stunningly beautiful music that comes across, as my title says, utterly sincere. Mr. Young's youthful eclectic creativity has grown and matured. His instrumental and vocal deliveries are deeply emotional without being in the least affected. His songs are tone poems.

Mr. Young's on-stage fellow performers are all close friends who share his inner rhythm and his dreams, and it shows. Their musicianship is as perfected as Mr. Young's, and in absolute harmony.

The result is something rare and difficult to describe. The music and the performances are ethereal and deeply moving. It comes directly from Mr. Young's heart without filters or distortion.

I recommend this DVD without reservation or qualification. It has become a cliche to describe something as "spiritually uplifting," but if Neil Young's performances on this DVD don't make you feel not just better, but HAPPY and glad to be alive, then you probably need a shrink.

Next week I will attempt to describe how very difficult it has become to find and book a hotel room in London and to select the best London-bound business class options.


Blogger cedric said...

we used to find was as good as it gets in London, but not sure how it shapes up now

1/25/2008 2:42 PM  
Blogger Kev said...


Love reading your blog. I always look forward to the next installment. Good to see you back at it.


3/20/2008 3:18 PM  
Blogger William A. Allen III said...

Thank you, Kevin.


3/20/2008 4:21 PM  

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