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Neil Young Returns with 'Prairie Wind'

The creation of Neil Young's latest album, Prairie Wind, was punctuated by a life-changing "medical event" for the singer-songwriter.

As he was preparing to record the song "The Painter" in Nashville, Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. He recorded eight of the songs before surgery for the aneurysm, and two afterward as he recovered.

Young was born in Toronto in 1945 and moved to Los Angeles in 1966, forming the seminal rock band Buffalo Springfield and later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He also released several albums with longtime backing band, Crazy Horse.

The songs "Old Man," "Heart of Gold" and "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" are well-known examples of Young's folk- and country-laced rock.

Young wrote some of the songs on Prairie Wind in 15 or 20 minutes, he tells Scott Simon. "It doesn't take me very long when I get started. I just try to remain open." The album is released Sept. 27; a concert film directed by Jonathan Demme is also forthcoming.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.