I love the things I’m hearing about Together Through Life, the new Bob Dylan disc coming out next month: that its production is simple and spare in the manner of the old Chess records sessions; that the music has a strong border cafe flavor, with David Hidalgo of Los Lobos featured prominently on accordion; and, above all, that it is very different from that snifter of chloroform called Modern Times, the huge success of which is a triumph of marketing savvy over artistic commitment. As Michael Gray notes, the interview posted at Dylan’s official site gives the impression that His Bobness doesn’t think all that highly of the record himself.
What a stroke of good fortune for Gray to be rolling out his lecture tour, Bob Dylan & the Poetry of the Blues: An Evening with Writer Michael Gray, just as a new album is generating fresh excitement around Dylan’s work. Gray has several U.S. engagements scheduled: I’ve got my ticket for the Nyack appearance. Seeing the way his itinerary skips back and forth across the Atlantic, Gray should probably rename it Subterranean Jetlag Blues, or maybe No Sleep Til Hammersmith.