Bob Dylan stated in a press release about his upcoming Shadows in the Night….’I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day‘.
Little Maggie from Expecting Rain
The way I see it, it’s all the same Dylan, but using different techniques of communication. He touches on this in his recent interview (from AARP). The technique here is an intimate, almost whispering in your ear delivery, where every intake and outtake of breath makes us think he is singing to us individually.
I think Dylan is consciously involved in the technique of singing now more than ever. I don’t think it was something that would have bothered him so much when his voice was younger, but when so little remains of his vocal range, technique is now everything if he is to communicate.
In many ways, Shadows in the Night is an exercise in technique. It’s about the skill of the singer more than any other Bob Dylan record.
Dylan is now singing with the voice of the last man standing. It’s a voice that accepts what life has become and moves nimbly and reverently within the grace of the intonation that God has left him with. Louis Armstrong is the only other American singer who has ever communicated as much soul, such complex weather worn textures and colors within such a limited range. But, the appeal of Dylan’s voice isn’t simply that it has a lot of miles on it. Weathered voices are a dime a dozen. Anybody can beat hell out of their vocal chords if they set their minds to it. To be able to sing like Bob Dylan sings on Shadows In The Night is no accident of lifestyle. You have to have something far deeper than that going on to sing like he does here.
Those who complain that Dylan can’t sing are treated to a masterclass in timing, phrasing, nuance and interpretation. Even the cracks in his voice leave a poignant trail.
On January 19th 2015 Bob Dylan released his second single ‘Stay With Me’ from his much anticipated Sinatra covers album.
Some songs can take months for an artist to find its true essence and Dylan managed to do that with ‘Stay With Me’ as his final encore song on tour. Bob’s version below from The Beacon at NYC is truly on another level. It well surpasses the fairly static original release on Shadows.
Of course we will ‘Stay with you’ Bob!
1. Bob Dylan invents himself one more time – Addicted to Noise
2. Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night review – pre-rock songs imbued with romantic regret – The Guardian
3. Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night | Album Review – a sonic masterclass in vulnerability and revelation – The Irish Times
4. Bob Dylan’s Shadows In The Night Receives Critical Raves – PR Newswire