Sonic Highways’ surefire reign as the most ambitious and intriguing major record of the year arguably ended before it even began. So, what did it take to dethrone Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters’ innovative, eight-city recording and documentary project? Nothing short of Bob Dylan, the “poet laureate of rock and roll,” bequeathing recently discovered lyrics from The Basement Tapes era, the most mythologized recording sessions in rock history, to legendary producer T Bone Burnett and an all-star band comprised of Elvis Costello, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), and Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops). Entire empires have been toppled by far less momentous developments than all these distinct moons aligning.
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