Friday, September 29, 2006

Bob Dylan - Modern Times (Columbia, 2006)

Ol' Bob Dylan keeps on rollin' on. Hot on the heels of last years successful documentary No Direction Home, comes this album and the man appearing everywhere from the cover of Rolling Store to an Apple iPod commercial. The hype has certainly produced results, with the album reaching the #1 position on the Billboard charts and gaining praise far and wide. The music is a really solid slice of rootsy Americana, calling on folk, blues, gospel and even a little country swing. There is a meditative serenity to a lot of the music, and ballads and mid-tempo songs dominate, but the old man still knows how to cut loose as he shows with the jumpin' swagger of the blues standard "Rollin' and Tumblin" and the gritty "Workingman's Blues #2." "Thunder on the Mountain" contains some classic Dylan wordplay over a bubbling shuffle groove. As good as all that is, "Nettie Moore" may be the pick of this particular litter. Moving at a slow meditative pace, he draws of her story into an amazingly full bodied narrative. "Ain't Talkin'" sees Dylan moving along a landscape like something out of a Cormac McCarthy novel... chaos and madness all around him, but he merely shrugs his shoulders and moves on down the road.

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