Not just Neil Young’s sister

An accomplished singer-songwriter in her own right, Astrid Young performs at The Spill in Peterborough on June 27

Astrid Young
Astrid Young

Astrid Young may be the sister of world-famous Canadian rocker Neil Young, but she continues to pave her own way in music and will be performing at The Spill (414 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-748-6167) on Friday, June 27th at 9 p.m.

The show will be an early release party for Astrid’s latest album, One Night At Giant Rock, to be officially released on July 1st on Tangerine Records.

Astrid in concert
Astrid in concert
Astrid’s career in music has led her down many paths. Along with her own recorded material, she’s known for her vocal work on brother Neil’s Harvest Moon and Unplugged albums.

Her latest effort has been years in the making, as recording started in 2005 with Bob Lanois (brother of Daniel Lanois) at The Shack in Hamilton.

She recorded the album’s first song “Integratron” at The Shack and intended to record the entire album there, but her family life became trying shortly after finishing that first song.

“My father passed away in June of that year, and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer that August and she passed away in November,” she explains.

“It was a very difficult time, and I lost the muse for a while,” she adds. “As a matter of fact, I had my doubts it would ever come back.”

While the loss of both her parents hit her extremely hard, she eventually forced herself to write and play.

She went on to work with some familiar faces she had worked with on previous albums, and also recorded near her home in Prince Edward County. A renovated church (now a studio called SlyFi Chapel) was home to some of the recordings.

“The studio looks like the coolest music store you’ve ever been in,” she says. “It has every keyboard, guitar, and amp you can think of.”

Soon after these sessions, while writing a tune with Hamilton native and Peterborough favourite Tom Wilson, Astrid met drummer — and now also husband — Ray Farrugia, who offered to play on some tracks (both Ray and Tom played in ’90s rock band Junkhouse and are currently members of Lee Harvey Osmond).

Not long after, she became acquainted with Victor DeLorenzo from the Violent Femmes.

“Of course, I’m a huge fan of the Femmes,” Astrid explains. “So when we decided to work together I was stoked beyond all belief!”

A window opened to finish the tracking and mixing with Victor in San Francisco at Robot Recording. She gave him the reins so she could do her thing while he called the shots, which was an experience she calls “the most rewarding in my life to that point.”

Although it was a long process, she feels that having multiple people working on the record really helped make it what it is. Astrid’s music bridges a few genres, from stoner rock to straight-up rock to slightly countrified.

When she hits The Spill she will be joined by Ray Farrugia on drums, with Melissa Payne opening the show. Tickets are available at the door for $10.

Astrid also has plans to bring her full band to Peterborough in August or September, which would include DeLorenzo from the Violent Femmes. Keep an eye open for that show as well.

Patchouli Boy (Astrid Young)

Interview on Breakfast Television (November 2009)