“Together Through Life”

By May 2, 2009herb's eye view

Okay. So now I’ve had a few days and a few listens with Bob Dylan’s new record, “Together Through Life”; and while I’m completely biased in being a total and utter Dylan dork, I gotta say that I LOVE the album. So predictable, I know…

While this is a completely different project in a completely different part of Dylan’s life, I find it difficult not to be reminded of some of his records from before when I listen to “Together Through Life”.

The album, “Desire”, comes to mind when I hear the tune “This Dream of You”. It could be the accordion by David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos fame). Or it could be the fiddle that weaves in and out. And since the fiddle ain’t credited in the record liner notes, I could be imagining it throughout the song; but I swear it’s there! The sounds of this song are reminiscent of the trumpet that I remember in “Romance In Durango” among other tunes in “Desire”.

The title “My Wife’s Home Town” takes me back to that dark and sinister melancholy I felt when I first listened to 1998’s “Time Out of Mind”; but this time around, there’s something inarguably different in the perspective of the song. Where “Time Out of Mind”‘s mood was kinda observational in the present, “My Wife’s Home Town” seemed to be more of a recount. Kinda like “This is what I saw and now I am telling you” as opposed to “This is what I’m seeing right now”. I feel like though this track calls upon the 1998 ground-breaking (to me at least) record, it is definitely more than a decade later. And I personally am glad that I get to hear someone such as Bob sing this song. I somehow don’t think it would be as credible had I heard it from someone still in their mid-20s and fresh out of songwriting school. Straight up — they just haven’t lived long enough.

All in all, “Together Through Life” just makes sense that it has been released just now. To me, it feels like a good culmination of all of the numerous other records that Dylan has produced over the years. You just can’t get away from it. Everything that you’ve done in life will somehow make its way into what you will do. That is something that has fascinated me for years and I think it neat that there is someone like Bob who has over 40 released records of original material that we can actually see that progression in. So neat.

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