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Pegi Young has a new album released in February of this year entitled, Raw which marks her fifth solo album. Her first solo album, “The Teepee Years” was released in 2007. She’s been married to rock legend Neil Young for 37-years before separating and divorcing him in 2014.

They have a son, Ben who has cerebral palsy and attends The Bridge School’ for severely disabled children in California; which she founded because she could not find an appropriate placement for him. It’s still being supported by the annual concert she produces and fundraising events and donations. The first concert to raise funds for the school took place in 1986.

Establishing The Bridge School in California

Pegi explained her involvement with 'The Bridge School.'

“I’m still very involved with the school, I’m President of the Board for life!” Pegi said in a telephone interview. ”There’s a very broad spectrum of people who have cerebral palsy (paralysis of the brain). “Our students have severe speech and physical impairments, using conventional speech for the primary needs of communication is not really an option for our students, so we work with technology and different ways to adapt to the curriculum so they can actively participate in their education.” “Most of our students do have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy some have mixed diagnosis that’s sort of the common denominator.” “There’s a significant level of physical impairments and lack of ability to use conventional speech as a primary need of communication.”

Surviving the divorce from Neil Young

Pegi describes her album, ‘Raw’ as a terrific outlet for expressing her frustrations, despair, and survival over the split with her husband, Neil Young.

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“The separation and divorce did take a toll on me and the music has been a terrific outlet for that and very cathartic to write, Young explained. “I started writing and I never stopped writing and it had a lot of stuff that needed to be vented out of my system and getting it on paper with my brain just spinning around in circles! I’ve got my great network of friends and family who have been so supportive it’s so amazing.”

Most of the tracks on her album, ‘Raw’ are her own original material reflect trying to survive and include cover versions of Otis Clay’s, “Trying to Live My Life Without You” plus a stripped-down version of “Heart of The Matter” by Don Henley and a rocking sassy version of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin” and the Ray Charles song, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind.” Young saw a video on YouTube with Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt performing a duet on the song and decided to use it on the album.

Two original members, Spooner Oldham who sings and plays guitar on Henley’s song, and the late pedal steel icon Ben Keith who she sang alongside with on Neil’s tours formed the original core of ‘Pegi Young and The Survivors’ are featured on the record.

Her band, 'The Survivors' current line-up features Muscle Shoals-based guitarist Kelvyn Holly, Spooner Oldham on keyboards, veteran drummer Phil Jones of Little Richard’s band, and bassists Benny Rietveld (of Santana) and Shonna Tucker (Drive-Truckers).

There will be a tour and the band played a show at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March.

“That was a fun time that our band has played in two years. The music was pouring out of every building. It was surprising how naked I would feel putting these songs out in front of people outside of the cocoon of my studio,” Young said. “I don’t think of myself as just becoming an artist in my own right, even when I was being a member of Neil’s different bands, whether we were doing duets or whatever we were doing. I put my music artistry aside while I raised my kids, getting ‘The Bridge School’ going and my music had to take a back-seat. Other women who have managed to do it do it well, juggle having a family and pursuing a very active career. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, but I was always writing and playing. I used to fool around on the piano but haven’t played the guitar all that much for about 20 years!” I founded a women’s singing group and I felt like I was still expressing myself no matter what I was doing either helping bring Neil’s music to life whether I was doing work with, ‘Mountain Edge’ and now doing my solo career, I found different ways to express my artistry during the ‘musical hiatus.’ I did a lot of photography on the road.” “When I was out with Neil not singing with him, I photographed the shows a lot and got a couple of album covers and photos published, I don’t feel like I became an artist it’s been an evolution of what I’ve been all along.”

Young describes the album title ‘Raw’ as having raw emotion.

“We were phishing around for a title and I was listening to it in my car driving somewhere and I said, “Man, this is raw!” and I thought it was a good title. I asked my friend, Eric Johnson who I’ve known for many years who was our tour manager and he’s an artist too and put some artwork together for the record and I just love what he came up with, it’s just beautiful and it captured the emotion of the record.”

Pegi’s musical influences are artists who sing from their heart like Billie Holliday, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, (she named her dog after her!) Laura Nero, Janice Joplin. Her new video, “Trying to Live My Life Without You” was shot in all black and white cinematography at her ranch in San Francisco produced and directed by Bill Fishman.

Pegi’s message to her fans is to come and see her and the band perform.

“We hope to play at a town near you and the music is my specialty with melancholy songs to a perky beat and you can dance to it!”