It's always extremely gratifying whenever someone follows their heart, dreams and visions.
Author Kevin Chong's new book Neil Young Nation is a dream come true of a Neil Young fan's personal journey . Specifically the book's sub-title: "A Quest, an Obsession (and a True Story)" captures Chong's adventure to discover what it really means to be a Neil Young fan. And here's his story.
Kevin writes in Neil Young Nation on Neil's music:
"He bristles against expectations; he chooses spontaneity over precision, passion over perfection. This was exactly what I wanted in my life, in my art. What Young called reckless abandon."
Crisscrossing the continent, he follows the route that led Young to become a music legend. He visits Winnipeg, where Young formed his first band, the Squires; Omeemee, Young`s childhood home; Los Angeles, where Young became a rock star; and many more of Young`s former haunts. He meets rabid Neil fans, talks to people who knew Young as a kid, and puzzles over Young`s strange, sometimes contradictory pronouncements.
From The Toronto Star review by Patricia Robertson:
"It's a terrific account of one writer's wavering self-confidence, resurrected creativity and enduring passion. Neil Young Nation confirms Chong's instinctive decision to embrace Neil Young's example and head out on the open road - instead of simply assuming the fetal position in his Vancouver apartment."
From a highly coveted New York Times Book Review By GARY KAMIYA:
"Hero worship is kind of embarrassing. We've all groveled before various idols, and if we're lucky we never entirely lose whatever was real in our goo-gooing. But we usually don't talk about it in public once we grow up. The Beatle fan magazines, the posters of Joe Montana or Diana Rigg, the volumes of Ayn Rand - these things don't age well in the cask. Being starry-eyed is suitable for sonnet writers and teenagers, but at some point most of us either transform our infatuation into something deeper - like scholarship or obsession - or kiss it goodbye.
Kevin Chong, the author of "Neil Young Nation," falls somewhere between adolescent awe and mature appreciation. He's a modest and savvy enough guy that one suspects he doesn't really think that driving all over North America retracing the steps of a mythical Neil Young road trip is going to yield some kind of epiphany. But he does it anyway. The result is like watching an endless home movie in which a not very close friend visits all the houses he grew up in."
In a review in Las Vegas City LifeBY TOD GOLDBERG:
"Rust never sleeps, Neil Young sang, and in the case of Chong's book, that's never more apparent. Chong's narrative invariably slips into the ether of road song sentimentality — visions of long, twisting highways and Neil Young on heavy rotation would do that to any writer — yet his engaging voice, casual humor and fine ability to conjure character from the people he meets along the way (everyone from Young family friends, to wheelchair-bound tribute band drummers, to a woman who made the original hearse trip from Canada to America with Young himself) manages to pull Neil Young Nation from a point of obvious reverence to something close to understanding both of the book's subject and the author himself. When Chong finally encounters Young — albeit on stage at Farm Aid — the author finally is able to make the connection, that to be forever young is possible in song, but not always in life.
Neil Young Nation is love letter from a fan to his idol, and in the end that truth, that realization, carries the book beyond its sentimentality and makes it an endearing look at two artists."
From a review in the Calgary Herald by Chris Ewart (19 November 2005):
"Neil Young Nation serves as a lesson in having a good time, and also finishing what one starts. The affable Chong found following Young's road map to youthfulness a cathartic experience.