Vanessa Carlton shares tender cover of Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”: Stream

Carlton's love of Young dates back to teenage years, when she learned the Harvest Moon songbook front to back

Vanessa Carlton Neil Young Cover 10 Things
Vanessa Carlton 10 Things, photo by Eddie Chacon

    10 Things… is a new music feature that tasks the artists with delving deep into a special topic associated with their latest release.

    Vanessa Carlton’s ubiquitous hit “A Thousand Miles” might serve as a time warp back to the summer of 2002, but the singer and pianist’s subsequent tunes, emboldened by a refined craft and a bleeding heart, propelled her into the future. She released her last LP, Liberman, in 2015 after marrying Deer Tick’s John McCauley and having her first child. Now, Carlton is easing back into the limelight with a series of six covers, each of which highlights her own talents while also capturing the spirit of the original cuts.

    Previously, Carlton shared her takes on Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”. Now, Consequence of Sound premieres her rendition of Neil Young’s wistful “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” from the prolific artist’s 1970 album After the Gold Rush. Carlton’s verision is as gentle as the original, with ephemeral harmonies that layer a gauzy romanticism over Carlton’s starry-eyed vocals.


    “Neil Young is one of my favorite artists because of his ability to be vulnerable,” she says. “He is unafraid to be himself in his work, which isn’t an easy feat. He is one of the greats because of this. Since having a child I am even more attune to the rawness of this song. The artful simplicity of this lyric coupled with the cyclical feel of the music makes this song one of my favorite worlds to live in.”

    Listen to it below.

    In further celebration of Young, Carlton has shared 10 Things she loves about the artist, as well as the ways he influenced her as she honed her skills as a teenager.


    He Wrote an Entire Book on His Love of Cars:
    Special Deluxe, his follow up to Waging Heavy Peace.

    He Is Trying to Improve the Sound of Digital Audio:
    And started a company called Pono that is solely devoted to doing that.

    He’s a Romantic:
    Listen to “Only Love Can Break My Heart”. Need I say more?


    He Experiments as an Artist and Does Not Care How His Work Will Be Received:
    As he puts it, “I work for the muse.” My favorite album of his is Le Noise.

    He Is a Luddite:
    He Insists On Only Analog Recordings. And when he tours, he travels with many of his own upright pianos. On almost every album he included a live performance recording of the song rather than a studio recording.


    He Knows How to Write a Protest Song:
    Those are extremely hard to do.

    He Shoots an Arrow into the Wall of Every Home He Lives in…:
    …and It stays there for as long as he lives there (read Waging Heavy Peace).

    He Published a Piano Song Book for Harvest Moon:
    Which I learned front to back when I was 13.


    He Started a School with His Ex-Wife Called the Bridge School: 
    It’s free school and a non-profit for kids with severe speech and physical impairments.

    He’s Canadian:
    I love Canada. I love Canadians. I’m signed to a Canadian label. It’s called Dine Alone Records.


    “Only Love Can Break Your Art” Single Artwork:

    vc only love can Vanessa Carlton shares tender cover of Neil Youngs Only Love Can Break Your Heart: Stream

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