Not only is the Basement Tapes Complete an orgy of archival rock and roll artifacts to be treasured forever, not only was Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour” a vibrant, shiny and up to date thing, it also mostly dated from the 21st Century. Which makes Bob Dylan as contemporary an artist as he possibly can be.
Many have tried, Bruce and U2 are the most obvious culprits, but none have succeeded in maintaining both the recorded and the live performance parts of their career in such a constant tandem. In 2012 Dylan gave us a collection of modern folk tunes, around half of which were excellent, in 2015 we are expecting his Frank Sinatra cover album, in 2009 he released his great Christmas album (which I woefully underappreciated) and in 2014 a collection of his peers added music to his unfinished songs.
One more thing: by including a Basement Tapes sampler on Spotify, he remained cutting edge and also gave his fans a good reason to buy the whole box set.
At the age of 73, Dylan is not for fans only, he is not stuck or musty, or had it: at 73 years of age, Dylan ain’t even nearly dark yet. On stage he is a dynamic, charismatic presence, singing his recent songs, sometimes re-writing them already, with a passion that comes from knowing you aren’t finished, you aren’t a relic of the 60s, or 70s, or 80s, that in 2014 your work is better than it was in 1984. That as the world demands you be more a finished product, you become less a finsihed product.
An astounding year for my artist of the year: Bob Dylan.
There is just a lot to love
the sound seemed to erupt from every side of the room
still on top
“danceable music for the end of days”
contracts its world in Nashisms
let’s take what we are offered
It’s the music, stupid
a restless and fearless freak show