Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dylan (Jakob) on a Saturday

Traveling tomorrow, so a little note before I go on Jakob Dylan's new cd, Women and Country. I haven't quite absorbed it yet, but so far I like it, and I think better than his previous solo album, Seeing Things. That's already saying something.

Seeing Things was produced by Rick Rubin, a great choice. Women and Country by T Bone Burnett, another great choice. The differences are striking even though both works fall in the acoustic/folk camp. Seeing Things is spare. Women and Country more lush. Seeing things is about Dylan's voice, not so much the songs. Women and Country is about the songs, the setting. And there's plenty of Burnett atmosphere here. The songs are great, a good fit for their settings.

The most striking thing about the setting is the presence of Neko Case's voice on backing vocals. In fact, three of the songs are performed by Dylan and Case (with a few others) on NPR's, All Music Considered. And they're great, especially Holy Rollers for Love. (

In an interview with Paste magazine, Dylan talks about the new cd and the collaborative process with Burnett. It fascinates me when artists talk about process and the meaning of their work. Dylan hasn't fallen far from the proverbial tree. It's not hard to hear Bob's own sentiments in many places. But Jakob talked about his music in one way that nailed it for me--the thing in his mixture that makes it stand out. Hope.

"I demand to put hope forward. I think there’s always been hope in my songs. Even if it was just a sliver. I wouldn’t know how to write otherwise—there’d just be too much darkness. It’d be too daunting. I think that’s the interesting stuff—I don’t overthink it, it’s music. But I do want hope in my music—when I’m talking to you or to myself, I don’t want to hear that there isn’t any hope. You talk to people all the time, you’re probably overwhelmed with how positive some people are, seeing brightness in everything. There are very few opportunities where you couldn’t find hope."

Dylan's music is clear evidence that hope isn't the same as being naive. Jakob doesn't duck the darkness. But the thing that lasts even in the darkness is hope. And so today, hope is the word.

"The world is crazy, or maybe just holy rollers for love."


happytheman said...

i'm still listening to it. noticed how his voice seems to be moving more towards his dad and a Tom Wait's sound then his. just sayin'

Mark Love said...

it is definitely more in the folk tradition. i think he's his own guy, and i think he's got a great voice.

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