"Prairie Wind" has been called, consistently since its release, the third part of trilogy including "Harvest" and "Harvest Moon". Personally, I would beg to differ. "Harvest" was Young's first (and most successful) country experiment; "Harvest Moon" was a blatant attempt at recapturing its predecessor's magic (and a result being the only Neil Young album I consider boring.) "Prarie Wind", on the other hand, is, in actuality, more like a cross between "Comes A Time" (it's closest musical approximation; 'Gone With The Wind' orchestra and all) and "Freedom" (in so far as the melodic commercialism of the songs- even though Young would probably deny that.) But the new album goes even further. It is a work of art unto itself.
"Prairie Wind" has not a weak song among its ten tracks; the opener, "The Painter", and the second song, "No Wonder", in particular, are simply brilliant. Young and the band, a fusion of the Stray Gators and his eighties combo The Lost Dogs (aka The Restless) are totally simpatico here. Emmylou Harris also lends a hand on a few tracks.
"Prairie Wind" is also, for the most part, a subconcious ode to Canada; many of the songs evoke Young's Canadian roots, which is quite gratifying, in light of his early eighties blatant pro-Americanism (i.e. "Hawks And Doves".) He makes up for all of that here.
In the Spring of 2005 we nearly lost Neil Young, who is definitely one of modern music's few original greats, to a brain anyeurism. Hearing "Prairie Wind" will make you glad we didn't. The album is a richly rewarding listening experience, and certainly gets my vote for album of the year.