With the Edmonton Folk Fest season upon us, I am recalling kd Lang’s powerful rendition of Neil Young’s iconic song, Helpless. I love that song, the haunting melody, the profound lyrics, that refrain that anthems and honours one of our most painful human emotions: helplessness.
Now I know it’s commonly held view, and one recently portrayed in the newly released documentary, Neil Young Journeys, that the song Helpless is about his childhood years in Omemee, Ontario, but I think that is a mistaken conclusion. Yes, Omemee was where Neil’s formative childhood years occurred, but surely Helpless is much more likely about two other truly northern Ontario towns: Thunder Bay and Blind River. (more…)