Sunday, September 20, 2009


I know it's early but I had to let you know. Dylan is coming out with a Christmas album. Sounds crazy, but here is a sneak preview. The arrangements are old-fashioned and the Andrews Sisters are singing backup vocals--it sounds like it, anyway, though that's probably not possible unless this is some kind of Christmas miracle. And maybe it is. It's like tuning in that old magical radio in The Twilight Zone. It sounds like we're picking up radiowaves that have been bouncing around outer space for years.

Bob Dylan, the greatest songwriter of his generation and possibly all time, loves oldtime music. His work has always been influenced by the past, his recent albums have been heavily indebted to traditional music, and every week he unearths gold nuggets of country, blues, folk, and tin pan alley on his radio show. For years, I've collected Christmas music for holiday mixtapes, and Dylan has done the same here. That's the spirit to take this album--not as anything profound or visionary, not as the next "Visions of Johanna" or "Things Have Changed," but as a stocking stuffer from Secret Santa. It may fill you with cheer, or make you laugh your ass off-- maybe a little of both. At times, it sounds like Howlin' Wolf singing with Bing Crosby's band at the Hotel Astor--but that's kind of cool. Just kick your shoes off, pull up an egg nog, and turn on that old, weird, magical radio.

Where will the money go? To help the UK homeless. Bob Dylan commented, “That the problem of hunger is ultimately solvable means we must each do what we can to help feed those who are suffering and support efforts to find long-term solutions. I’m honoured to partner with the World Food Programme and Crisis in their fight against hunger and homelessness.” More on the story here.

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