Melody Road

Melody Road

by Neil DiamondNeil Diamond


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Leaving behind Columbia Records along with his latter-day collaborator producer Rick Rubin, Neil Diamond sets up shop at Capitol -- which now belongs to Universal Records, who owns his classic recordings for Uni and MCA -- and teams with producer Don Was for 2014's Melody Road. Diamond may have left his label of 40 years, but in an odd way, Melody Road is a return home after his stark wanderings of the 2000s. Rubin encouraged Diamond to be spare, sometimes recording him with little more than an acoustic guitar, but Was -- who is assisted by Jacknife Lee -- coaxes the singer/songwriter to bring back the schmaltz, an essential element of Neil's glory days that was largely ignored on the Rubin records. Was and Lee retain a hint of that new millennial intimacy -- it's never once as overblown as his '70s records -- but the songs themselves alternate between stately ballads, effervescent bubblegum, and self-important pomp. As on his best '70s records, which Melody Road often resembles in both construction and consistency, Diamond is best when he keeps his ambitions relatively simple. There's majesty on the title track and haunting splendor on "Alone at the Ball," and they find their counterparts in the joyous "Something Blue" and "Marry Me Now," along with the spirited ramble of "First Time." Each of these songs evoke memories of Diamond's peak -- a little bit of "Solitary Man," a little bit of "I Am…I Said," a little bit of "Cherry Cherry" -- while the tedious socially aware slog of "Seongah and Jimmy" and endless ballad "(OOO) Do I Wanna Be Yours" bring back the Diamond that's often forgotten, the Diamond whose LPs often got bogged down in middlebrow aspirations. As much as these weigh down Melody Road, it's also true that there's never been a Neil Diamond record where he doesn't stray into this murky territory. What makes a difference here is the general lightness of his new songs and Was and Lee's sympathetic production; the two play off each other perfectly, turning this into the first latter-day Diamond record to feel quintessentially Neil Diamond.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/21/2014
Label: Capitol
UPC: 0602537991389
catalogNumber: 002176002
Rank: 99537

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neil Diamond   Primary Artist,Guitar
Matt Rollings   Keyboards
John Fumo   Horn
Elizabeth Wilson   Strings
Benmont Tench   Keyboards
Richard Bennett   Guitar
Chuck Berghofer   Strings
Jim Cox   Keyboards
Alan Estes   Percussion,Strings
Mark Goldenberg   Guitar
Maurice Grants   Strings
Hadley Hockensmith   Guitar
James "Hutch" Hutchinson   Bass
Rami Jaffee   Keyboards
Greg Leisz   Guitar
Don Markese   Flute
Dennis Molchan   Strings
Cheryl Norman   Strings
Greg Phillinganes   Keyboards
Tim Pierce   Guitar
Anatoly Rosinsky   Strings
Harry Shirinian   Strings
Jeremy Stacey   Drums
Sebastian Steinberg   Bass
Kevan Torfeh   Strings
Don Was   Keyboards
Waters Family   Background Vocals
Oren Waters   Background Vocals
Dan Weinstein   Horn
Shari Zippert   Strings
Gayle Levant   Strings
Marcia Dickstein   Strings
Michael Ferril   Strings
Smokey Hormel   Guitar
Christina Soule   Strings
Joey Waronker   Percussion,Drums
Julia Waters   Background Vocals
Norm Hughes   Strings
Johana Krejci   Strings
Agnes Gottschewski   Strings
Lynn Grants   Strings
Eric Gorfain   Horn
Robert Berg   Strings
Brian Benning   Strings
Jody Rubin   Strings
Marina Manukian   Strings
Sarkis Gyurgchyan   Strings
Stephanie O'Keefe   Horn
Andrew Duckles   Strings
Sally Berman   Strings
Steve Richards   Strings
Caroline Buckman   Strings
Aaron Oltman   Strings
Joel Pargman   Strings
Jacknife Lee   Guitar,Keyboards
Blake Mills   Guitar
Justin Hageman   Horn
Davide Rossi   Strings
Karolina Naziemiec   Strings
Giovanna Moraga Clayton   Strings
Maxine Waters   Background Vocals
Marc Bolin   Horn
Matthew Cooker   Strings
Sara Andon   Flute
Vahe Hayrikian   Strings
Jamelle Williams   Horn
Mike Cottone   Horn
Cj Vanston   Keyboards
Zhou Yi   Strings
Alex Gorlovsky   Strings
Carrie Kennedy   Strings
Michael Ferrill   Strings
Phillippa Ruth Clarke-Ling   Strings
Ousep Ketendijian   Strings
Erik Avinder   Strings
David Stone   Strings
Anna Kostyucheck   Strings

Technical Credits

Neil Diamond   Composer
Alan Lindgren   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Don Was   Producer
Bernie Becker   Vocal Engineer
Todd Gallopo   Art Direction
Eric Gorfain   Horn Arrangements
Tom McFall   Engineer
Jacknife Lee   Producer
Davide Rossi   String Arrangements
Micah Diamond   Cover Photo
Ari Michelson   Cover Photo
Julie Farman   Note Editing

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