By Eric Ladd EBS Publisher
Photos by Jim Eckenrode

MORRISON, Colo. – Legendary hall of fame rock star, activist and environmentalist Neil Young has taken to the road with his new album “The Monsanto Years.”

Young’s latest tour includes 12 shows in July featuring catchy folk-style rock tunes addressing social issues like Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed supremacy, exploitation in the farming industry, big box-store dominance, and government corruption.

As fans gathered July 9 in the idyllic setting of Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre to celebrate Young’s return, they were treated to classic tunes like “Heart of Gold” and “Harvest Moon” before being introduced to new songs including “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop,” “Workin’ Man,” and “Big Box.”

Neil Young taking it solo at Red Rocks.

Neil Young taking it solo at Red Rocks.

Young teamed up with rock phenomenon Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real to record the “The Monsanto Years,” which delivers preachy and passionate lyrics, coated in complex guitar riffs and beautiful harmonies.

Guitarist Lukas Nelson fronts Promise of the Real, with Anthony LoGerfo on drums, Corey McCormick on bass, and Tato Melgar on percussion. They delivered a solid performance at Red Rocks, holding court and pace with their mentor, Young.

Lukas’s brother Micah Nelson joined the effort and delivered a stunning performance as he displayed his multi-talented skills with an array of instruments.

It appears that Young’s belief in POTR and Micah is paying off, as their play – both on the album and on stage – is consistent with the Canadian singer-songwriter’s 47-year, Grammy award-winning career.

“The Monsanto Years” is a no B.S. approach to addressing dinner-table conversation topics, and hits companies like Monsanto, Starbucks and Wal-Mart between the eyes with a musical right hook. Young’s black T-shirt with “EARTH” printed across his chest is symbolic of the message being delivered to fans as the new album gives praise to mother nature, the rising moon and elk roaming in fields.

“The Monsanto Years” tour is a unique departure from mainstream concert circuits, creating awareness and discussion about topics affecting humanity now, forcing conversations and provoking action. One need only to read the Starbucks and Monsanto press releases in reaction to the album to realize the ripples it’s causing.

Lukas traded complex guitar rips with Young during “Down By The River,” that caused hair on the back of fans’ necks to stand up, as they witnessed a rising star before their eyes. While Young

The boys sign off (From left: Anthony LoGerfo, Tato Melgar, Corey McCormick, Lukas Nelson, Neil Young, Micah Nelson).

The boys sign off (From left: Anthony LoGerfo, Tato Melgar, Corey McCormick, Lukas Nelson, Neil Young, Micah Nelson).

filled the amphitheater with sermon-like lyrics, the driving message was for our society to start leading our actions with love.

Small tents sat atop the Red Rocks seating area manned with activists educating concertgoers on the dangers of genetically modified organisms and their impact on our farming and grocery shopping rituals.

If you appreciate a soulful musical approach that addresses our consumptive lifestyles, “The Monsanto Years” is highly recommended.

Be warned: you may be deleting your Starbucks app.