You know that scene during the second season of Louie where Louis CK explains to his fictional children the importance of the ancient (and, as it turns out, horribly racist) relative they are driving to visit?
He tells them being able to connect with his 97-year-old great aunt is like being able to travel through time. She’s a living piece of history who can tell stories about needing to use horses and buggies to get around and talk about an era when people didn’t know if television was going to catch on.
Bob Dylan is not racist, of course, and not nearly in his 90s — dude just turned 71 — but he is a living link to our collective musical past. And 50 years after his first studio album, he’s still putting out new music, too: Columbia Records announced this morning that Dylan’s 35th collection of original songs, titled Tempest, will hit stores on Sept. 11. Like much of the latter-day Dylan albums, it is produced by Jack Frost (Dylan’s knob-twiddling alter ego). So what can we expect?
Dylan is still in the midst of a late-career renaissance that began in earnest with his MTV Unplugged taping in 1994 and really got hot following the release of the 1997 return to form Time Out of Mind. That record won the Grammy for Album of the Year, and he followed that up with a pair of critically adored albums: 2001’s “Love and Theft” (which also happened to come out on Sept. 11), and 2006’s Modern Times. Dylan’s last proper album was 2009’s Together Through Life, though he also released a Christmas album that year.
All told, the dude doesn’t have a whole lot left to prove. He has multiple Grammys, an Oscar, has seen at least three excellent films made as homages to his genius, landed on the New York Times bestseller list with his memoir, and to cap it off, won the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this year. And he can still go: He tours perpetually, constantly reinterpreting his own work and twisting classic tunes into whole new beasts.
Also, of course, there’s this:
Are you looking forward to Bob Dylan’s new album? What do you hope to hear from it? Strum and mumble in the comments.
Review: Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan