Like a little ray of sunshine Bob Dylan's latest offering came in the mail this afternoon. I've been down suffering with the flu for five days now. So the new music brought some much needed relief. "Together Through Life" is Dylan's first release of original material since the 2006 release of the critically acclaimed "Modern Times."
It's a mish-mash of Zydeco-Texican-Dylan. Lyrically it pales to "Modern Times" but there are some really great tunes on this disc. The music is what holds this effort together. From the opening bars of "Beyond Here Lies Nothin' " you know that Dylan is taking on a different journey. Some of my other favorites are "If You Ever Go to Houston," "Forgetful Heart," "Jolene," and "I Feel a Change Comin On." That last tune feels like the clock had been turned back 30 years with The Band backing Dylan up. This song could have easily been culled from "Planet Waves."
It's a remarkable thing to get a new album from Dylan so close to the release of "Modern Times." Since 1990 this is only his fifth album of originals. Given some of the truly mediocre music that Dylan made in the late 1980's the quality of his work over the last decade and a half never ceases to amaze me. No, his voice isn't pretty, but listen to his words, listen to the weariness in his delivery, to the emotion. The man is a genius and we're lucky enough to have lived through the period when he walked the earth. It's a shame his summer tour isn't coming close to Florida. It's time to see the man live again.