In House #1693: Bob Dylan's Modern Times; New Will Kimbrough
The third release in the career renaissance trilogy of Robert Zimmerman, Modern Times, drops tomorrow after five years in between releases. As you may recall, the last time Bob Dylan emerged from his philosopher's cave was with 2001's Love & Theft, an album released on September 11th and coincidentally filled with the foretellings of a sage on songs like "High Water." This time around, Dylan has had more time to deliberately reflect on events like the invasion of Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, although his allusions are mostly veiled, symbolic references, full of respect for the artform and the intelligence of the listener. As for the music backing his lyrics, Dylan is joined by the "cowboy band" he sings about being a part of at one point on the album-- he's also called them the best band he's ever had, which would make sense considering they've no fewer than 150 shows together to their credit.
Great artists steal, so the saying goes, and while Dylan may not go so far as to steal from the likes of Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo, and Led Zeppelin, et. al., he shoots winks and nods to these artists and others over the course of ten meaty songs. He's been showing off his musicologist's knowledge of music history recently on his weekly XM radio show, and he seems to use that information directly in the creation of his songs. In fact, Modern Times references entertainers throughout the 20th century-- from the Charlie Chaplin-referencing title to words lifted from the mouths of Robert Johnson and Carl Perkins, it's as if Dylan is taking from where we've been to tell us where we are and we're going. On his 31st studio album, the sixty-five year-old Dylan shows he's nowhere near finished saying what he has to say-- how many 20-something musicians wish they could say the same?
In House #1693.
Focus: New release from Bob Dylan, Modern Times, plus new music from Tom Petty, Will Kimbrough, Bo Ramsey and more.
From Bob Dylan's Modern Times: "Thunder On the Mountain" (MP3)
In House PODCAST #164