Alex Lifeson wrote song to ‘honour’ late Rush drummer Neil Peart

TORONTO — Former Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson has written a musical tribute to his late friend and bandmate Neil Peart.

The Toronto musician said “Western Sunsets” came together after spending time with Peart at the drummer’s home in Santa Monica shortly before he died of brain cancer in January 2020.

The instrumental snippet floated over the acoustic-electric guitar, lasting a brief two and a half minutes.

Lifeson says he started writing his serene compositions as he sat with Peart on his balcony and watched the golden sunset heralding the end of the day.

He hoped the song would be a way to honor his friend “without getting too angry about it.”

“Western Sunsets” concludes the self-titled debut of Envy of None, a new band featuring Lifeson. The album will be released on April 8th.

The soft homage sounds very different from the experimental rock edge that dominates the rest of the 11-track album Envy of None. Lifeson hopes the “calm and serenity” will allow listeners to absorb melodic alt-rock sounds in a “more stable listening environment.”

But he admits that admitting “Western Sunsets” was written for Peart gives the song a certain weight to some listeners.

“That’s the problem, you don’t want it to be this award and everyone is focused on that,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful song that captures a difficult moment. Every time I hear it, I remember those things. So it’s very personal to me.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 15, 2022.

Jackson Wintringham

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