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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Bob Dylan, Tinsley Ellis, Kid Ink, Diana Krall and more...
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Bob Dylan

"Shadows in the Night"

(Columbia)

Grade: B

At the age of 73 and nearly 55 years into his recording career, Bob Dylan is releasing perhaps his most polarizing album yet -- and that's saying something. But of all the twists and turns Dylan has thrown his fans and a legion of scholarly observers, this trip into the Great American Songbook, with 10 songs all recorded by Frank Sinatra, among others, was surely something nobody saw coming. But it makes more sense than you might think; anyone who's paid genuine attention to Dylan should recognize that pop standards from the pens of Irving Berlin, Rogers & Hammerstein, etc. are as much a part of Dylan's makeup as the folk and blues ephemera he tucked into on 1992's "Good As I Been To You" and the next year's "World Gone Wrong," and these restrained and delicate arrangements -- highlighted throughout by Donny Herron's exquisite steel guitar -- reveal a great deal of influence on Dylan's own melodic sensibilities. The biggest news here, however, is Dylan's singing; his familiar, nasal rasp is largely replaced by a crooning deeper register and uncharacteristically clear enunciation that underscores his genuine passion for the material. No one's going to mistake him for Tony Bennett or Michael Buble, but "Shadows in the Night" -- from the Sinatra co-written "I'm a Fool to Want You" to the country-western flavored "Stay With Me" and an emotive "Some Enchanted Evening" -- is an illuminating labor of love that shouldn't be regarded only as Dylan messing with us yet again

New & Noteworthy:

Tinsley Ellis, "Tough Love" (Heartfixer): The Georgia blues-rock guitarist is at his gutbucket, roadhouse best on his third album in as many years.

Kid Ink, "Full Speed" (RCA): The Los Angeles rapper's fourth album is a star-studded affair with guest features by Usher, R. Kelly, Chris Brown, Tinashe, Detroit's Dej Loaf and more.

Diana Krall, "Wallflower" (Verve): Krall dips into the rock songbook on her 12th album, covering songs by Paul McCartney, Elton John, Randy Newman, the Eagles, the Bob Dylan-penned title track and more.

Gurf Morllix, "Eatin' At Me" (Rootball): The eighth solo album from the Americana icon who's worked with Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Patty Griffin and many others.

Two Gallants, "We Are Undone" (ATO): The lo-fi San Francisco indie rock duo spent a month recording its fifth album with Tom Waits cohort Karl Derfler.

Butch Walker, "Afraid of Ghosts" (Dangerbird): Veteran performer/producer/songwriter Walker tapped good pal Ryan Adams to produce his latest solo album, a rootsy effort led by the single "Chrissie Hynde."

Also Out: David Arkenstone and Charlee Brooks, "Inamorata" (Green Hill); Armageddon, "Captivity & Devourment" (Listenable); Blind Guardian, "Beyond the Red Mirror" (Nuclear Blast); Jerry Camp, "I Will Follow" (Sparrow); The Church, "Further Deeper" (+180); Dailey & Vincent, "Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers" (Rounder); Thomas D'Arcy, "Fooled You Twice" (Thomas D'Arcy Music/Maple Music); Polly Gibbons, "Many Faces of Love" (Resonance); Aaron Gillespie, "Grace Through the Wandering" (BEC); Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King, "Fat Man's Shine Parlor" (Blind Pig); Leah, "Kings & Queens" (Inner Wound); Murder By Death, "Big Dark Love" (Bloodshot); Tim Myers, "The Year (Black Panda); Ty Segall, "Live in San Francisco" (Castleface); Chadwick Stokes, "The Horse Comanche" (Ruff Shod/Thirty Tigers); U.D.O., "Decadent" (AFM); Various Artists, "Now 53: That's What I Call Music" (Legacy); Chip Z'Nuff, "Strange Time" (Cleopatra)

From The Vaults: The Go-Betweens, "G Stands For Go-Betweens (Vol. 1)" (Domino); The Grateful Dead, "Dick's Picks Vol. 12 -- Providence" (Deadnet); Elton John, "The Legendary Covers Album 1969-70" (Cleopatra); Renaissance, "DeLane Lea Studios 1973" (Cleopatra); Leann Rimes, "All-Time Greatest Hits" Curb); Soft Machine, "Switzerland 1974" (Cuneiform); Various Artists, "Back From the Grave 9-10" (Crypt)

Soundtracks: Olafur Arnlads, "Broadchurch: Original Television Soundtrack" (Mercury Classics); "NOW That`s What I Call Movies" (Legacy);

New Music Videos: Kristin Chenoweth, "Coming Home" (Concord); Nas, "Time is Illmatic" (Tribeca Film)

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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