Billy Talbot, a founding member of Neil Young’s backing band Crazy Horse, released his second solo album, On the Road to Spearfish, earlier today (May 21). The new album, credited to the Billy Talbot Band, is a nine-song digital release that includes an HD documentary.
On the Road to Spearfish was inspired by the vast North American prairie, where Talbot and his wife Karin have restored a homestead in Spearfish, SD. In a musical journey that feels both mortal and mythic, Talbot translates the elemental Great Plains landscape into songs that transcend specific geography. Rather, they inhabit the realms of the heart and soul, emanating a restless sense of wonder about the world of Spearfish and beyond.
The album opens with “Empty Stadium,” a plaintive ballad driven by a longing for home. It’s followed by the up-tempo groove of the album’s lead track, “Running Around,” a song about searching for a better place. That yearning is felt throughout the set list in songs that juxtapose despair and redemption, range from somber to psychedelic, and that span the distances in between—with an overall progression from darkness to light.
The spirit of what Talbot has helped create with Neil Young and Crazy Horse also flows through the record, nowhere more fully than the title track. Awash in guitar interplay, “On The Road To Spearfish” is an epic 13-minute anthem to the open plain that mourns the West that once was, while still seeking solace in what will never fade away.
The album was recorded at Light Rail Studios in San Francisco with Ryan James Holzer (trombone, harmonica, autoharp, organ, acoustic guitar), Matt Piucci (guitar), Erik Pearson (horns, banjo, lap steel), Mark Hanley (lap steel, mandolin, guitar), Tommy Carns (bass), and Stephan Junca (drums).