By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Dylan goes Tex-Mex

I’m very excited about this. After Bob Dylan wrapped up his comeback trilogy in 2006 with “Modern Times,” I figured that would be just about it. He’s 67 now, and he’s more than proved his point.

Except that Dylan apparently never thought of it as a trilogy. He’s got a new album of original material, “Together Through Life,” coming out next month, supposedly with a Tex-Mex flavor. (I’ll assume he’s not going to revisit the hilarious accent he unveiled on “Romance in Durango.”) Zimmy says he’s aiming for something different this time:

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.

Joel Brown pointed me to this Rolling Stone piece, which describes “Together Through Life” as having “the live-in-the-studio feel of Dylan’s last two studio records, 2001’s ‘Love and Theft’ and 2006’s ‘Modern Times,’ but with a seductive border-cafe feel (courtesy of the accordion on every track) and an emphasis on struggling-love songs.”

I can’t wait.

Last night I was listening to “Tell Tale Signs,” Dylan’s recent collection of outtakes, mainly from the trilogy and 1989’s “Oh Mercy.” It strikes me that Dylan’s so-called comeback is now 20 years old — that, contrary to the conventional wisdom that he staggered around for decades, he actually rediscovered his gift in his late 40s, and has been kicking ass pretty much ever since, with just one turkey (“Under the Red Sky,” 1990) in all those years.

Yes, “Time Out of Mind” (1998), as good as anything he’s ever done, signaled to the wider public that he was back. But if you look at his actual output, you’d have to say that he’s been on top of his game for a long time.

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  1. endangered coffee

    minor quibble, but I find Modern Times to be the best of the “trilogy”. Love and Theft and TOOM both left me a little cold, but on MT, Bob seemed to have “catchier” warmer songs and seemed much more comfortable with his increasingly limited vocal range.

  2. owl

    Modern times is horrendously overrated. That said, I could listen to “Nettie Moore” on loop for the rest of my life.

  3. John Doherty

    Dylan staging a comeback and rediscovering his gift was better in the 70s. ;-)Seriously, he’s been “officially pronounced artistically dead” about four or five times, only to rise up, often after extended mediocre album output.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    John: Dylan made one great album in the ’70s, although it might have been his best ever.In the last 10 years he’s made one great album followed by two very good ones.

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