Neil Young is facing the music—literally. The folk-rock legend’s ex-wife, Pegi Young, is singing about the heartbreak following her divorce from her husband of 36 years on her new album, Raw. The Los Angeles Times previewed the album, which is due out Feb. 17 and includes songs with breakup-worthy titles like “Too Little Too Late,” “A Thousand Tears,” and “Lonely.”
Neil Young’s ex said told the Times her life was a “roller coaster” after Neil decided to end their marriage in 2014, and she turned to music as an outlet.
“In the immediate aftermath of the separation, I just wrote and wrote and wrote,” Pegi Young said. “My life had been turned upside down. I didn’t want to mince words.”
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Pegi, a seasoned guitarist, revealed that she was so traumatized by the end of her marriage that it left her unable to play any instruments on the record, so she left that job to her band, the Survivors.
In addition to original music, Pegi Young’s album includes covers of songs by Ray Charles, Don Henley, Lee Hazlewood and more.
It wasn’t until Young saw the finished collection of songs that she realized her album plays out like “the soundtrack of the seven stages of grief.”
Young admitted the writing and recording of Raw helped to heal her after her divorce and she hopes others will be able to find healing from it, too.
“I hope that others who have gone through loss, who has gone through heartbreak — be it divorce, death or other forms of loss — will be able to connect with it,” Young said. “I’m not the only one to go through late-in-life divorce; I’m not the only one to suffer a major heartbreak. And I won’t be the last.”
— Canadian Music News (@nanaki_634) January 22, 2015
Neil Young’s split from his wife came amid rumors that he had been involved in a relationship with actress Darryl Hannah. In 2014, People reported that the rocker filed for divorce from his wife and longtime musical collaborator after 36 years of marriage. The Youngs have two grown children together, Ben and Amber Jean. Neil Young is also father to a son named Zeke from his prior relationship with the late actress Carrie Snodgress.
At the time of his split from Pegi, Neil Young was criticized by his former Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young partner, David Crosby. Crosby told the Idaho Statesman he didn’t approve of his bandmate’s relationship with the Splash star.
“I happen to know that [Neil Young] is hanging out with somebody that’s a purely poisonous predator now,” Crosby said at the time. “And that’s karma. He’s gonna get hurt. But I understand why it happened. I’m just sad about it. I’m always sad when I see love tossed in the gutter.”
Crosby later apologized to Neil Young and Darryl Hannah for the remark.
— Rock Music News (@mhq_rock) May 27, 2016
Last year, Neil Young told Rolling Stone he gave his ex-wife Broken Arrow Ranch, a lavish property in Redwood City, California, he had owned since 1970, as part of their divorce settlement.
“I got a divorce, and I gave my wife the ranch,” Young said. The rocker added that the forced move helped him reconnect with old friends, including CSNY alum Steven Stills.
“I was so remote for so long,” Neil said. “All my old friends are now just a few miles away.”
When they were married, Neil Young’s wife was the inspiration for several of his songs, including “Such a Woman” and “Once an Angel.” More recently Neil Young released his 38th studio album, titled Peace Trail.
Take a look at the video below to see Neil and Pegi Young performing together at Farm Aid in happier times.
[Featured Image by Larry Busacca/Getty Images For The Recording Academy]