On the one hand, “Waging Heavy Peace” is a mess — sprawling, improvisational, like a sloppy 40-minute jam on “Like a Hurricane.” But it is also revealing, even (at times) oddly beautiful, a stream-of-consciousness-meditation on where Young has been, where he thinks he’s going and, perhaps most revealing, where he is right now. “Not that it matters much,” he tells us, “but recently I stopped smoking and drinking…. The big question for me at this point is whether I will be able to write songs this way. I haven’t yet, and that is a big part of my life. Of course I am now sixty-five, so my writing may not be as easy-flowing as it once was, but on the other hand, I am writing this book. I’ll check in with you on that later. We’ll see how it goes.” The smoking to which Young refers is, of course, weed, which he has long regarded as a key to his creativity. As such, his not altogether willing sobriety becomes one of the threads of “Waging Heavy Peace,” a through line that roots the book in the here and now.
more from David L. Ulin at the LA Times here.