Release Date: Apr 6, 2010
Record label: Sony
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative, Singer-Songwriter
Willie Nelson: Country Music[Rounder]85/100 Jakob Dylan: Women and Country[Columbia]72/100 T Bone Burnett countries up an unlikely pair Among the many differences between Willie Nelson and Jakob Dylan, there’s the matter of frequency: The silver-braided Nelson releases new records two or three times a year, like clockwork, while the younger Dylan has kept a more measured pace since his band The Wallflowers wilted from its late-’90s peak. Nonetheless, both performers tapped T Bone Burnett to be the sonic architect of their latest efforts, each album playing with its own idea of country music and showcasing two different sides of the Oscar-winning producer. Nelson’s Country Music thumps to life with the unfussy airs of a pickin’ parlor throwdown.
Continuing in the subdued, stripped-down direction he began with his 2008 solo debut Seeing Things, Jakob Dylan nevertheless achieves a cinematic resonance on his second record, 2010’s Women + Country. Surely, part of this is down to Dylan swapping Rick Rubin, who has made starkness almost a fetish, for the analog impressionism of T-Bone Burnett, who previously worked with the singer/songwriter on the Wallflowers 1996 breakthrough album Bringing Down the Horse. Women + Country has little to do with the sturdy, sinewy, straight-ahead rock of Bringing Down the Horse: it’s dreamy and airy, slipping in and out of focus, rootsy without being earthy.
On Dylan’s second solo CD, his palette ranges from the elegantly shuffling ”Lend a Hand” to the lighter, catchier ”Everybody’s Hurting,” one ?of many tracks to boast backing vocals from Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. Producer T Bone Burnett, who could probably turn a Miley Cyrus ringtone into a slice of melancholic Americana, gives the collection a predictably rich frame. B Download These:Brass-assisted Lend a Hand at amazon.comSpare, Springsteen-esque Yonder Come the Blues at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Should rock critics re-visit the Wallflowers? I heard “6th Avenue Heartache” from their sophomore release, Bringing Down the Horse playing while shopping at a local-chain grocery store the other day and couldn’t help but feel how it seemed slightly unjustified that Jakob Dylan and company had been relegated to the soft rock playlist for midday shopping. Not that the Wallflowers recorded anything spectacular or particularly memorable in their surprisingly-lengthy career. If anything, the four-piece have played it safe, towed an MOR sound to maintain a tepid popularity.
JAKOB DYLAN Women And Country (COLUMBIA) Rating: On his second solo album, Women and Country, Jakob Dylan has teamed with T Bone Burnett to create an ambitious record of finely-chiseled songs with lush, sweeping instrumentation. The record marks Dylan’s reunion with Burnett, who produced The Wallflower’s 1996 album, Bringing Down The Horse, a juggernaut of rock radio that sold more than 6 million copies. T Bone, who has known Dylan since he was a kid, suggested the two make an album together after the singer played him the song “Nothing But The Whole Wide World,” a tune Dylan had originally written for a Glen Campbell album.
Dylan’s second solo LP manifests a relaxed mood and maintains it marvellously. Mike Diver 2010 While the progeny of popular recording artists often aren’t averse to a leg-up from mom or pop when embarking on careers of their own, Jakob Dylan didn’t truly trade on his famous name until the release of 2008’s solo debut, Seeing Things. He’s written and recorded since the late 80s, but as frontman with The Wallflowers until going it alone, albeit alongside celebrated producer Rick Rubin and Will Oldham collaborator Matt Sweeney, two years ago.