New Bob Dylan record imminent, untitled as of yet1
I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver/And I’m reading James Joyce/Some people tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice, Bob Dylan sings in a leathery growl, capturing the essence of his forthcoming studio album — raw-country love songs, sly wordplay and the wounded state of the nation — in “I Feel a Change Coming On,” one of the record’s 10 new originals.
Set for late April, the as-yet-untitled album arrives a few months after Dylan’s outtakes collection Tell Tale Signs, and it “came as a surprise,” says a source close to Dylan’s camp. Last year, filmmaker Olivier Dahan, who directed the 2007 Edith Piaf biopic, La Vie en Rose, approached Dylan about writing a song for his next feature. Dylan responded with “Life Is Hard,” a bleak ballad with mandolin, pedal steel and him singing in a dark, clear voice, “The evening winds are still /I’ve lost the way and will.” (The song appears in the film My Own Love Song, starring Renée Zellweger.)
[Click for more details about Dylan Records Surprise ‘Modern Times’ Follow-up : Rolling Stone]
I’m sure every music critic will rave about the album soon enough, regardless if it is any good or not. And I’m sure I’ll buy it as soon as it is available, regardless if the album is a spicy Texas border-town musical pozole like a second coming of Doug Sahm or just wheezy accordion tunes played by somnambulists.
His Bobness says the album will be “in the spirit” of classic Chess and Sun Records, and different than Modern Times:
The new record’s very different from Modern Times which was a number one hit. It seems like every time you have a big hit, the next time out you change things around. Why don’t you try to milk it a little bit?
I think we milked it all we could on that last record and then some. We squeezed the cow dry. All the Modern Times songs were written and performed in the widest range possible so they had a little bit of everything. These new songs have more of a romantic edge.
These songs don’t need to cover the same ground. The songs on Modern Times songs brought my repertoire up to date, and the light was directed in a certain way. You have to have somebody in mind as an audience otherwise there’s no point.
What do you mean by that?
There didn’t seem to be any general consensus among my listeners. Some people preferred my first period songs. Some, the second. Some, the Christian period. Some, the post Colombian. Some, the Pre-Raphaelite. Some people prefer my songs from the nineties. I see that my audience now doesn’t particular care what period the songs are from. They feel style and substance in a more visceral way and let it go at that. Images don’t hang anybody up. Like if there’s an astrologer with a criminal record in one of my songs it’s not going to make anybody wonder if the human race is doomed. Images are taken at face value and it kind of freed me up.