By any measure, Bob Dylan is a living legend. Even at age 73 and after more than half a century in the music business, Dylan remains a relevant figure. He’s enjoyed a late-career renaissance that began with 1997’s “Time Out of Mind” and continued with 2001’s “Love and Theft,” 2006’s “Modern Times,” 2009’s Together Through Life” and 2012’s “Tempest.”
The rock-solid “Shadows in the Night” is Dylan’s 36th studio platter and first collection of new material in three years. New to Dylan, that is, as the 10-track release finds him tackling a series of standards and putting his indelible mark on each and every one. You’ve heard all of these songs before, but never like this.
“It was a real privilege to make to make this album,” Dylan says. “I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach a 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a five-piece band. That’s the key to all these performances.
As usual, Dylan achieves his goals. The songs are familiar — “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “The Night We Called It a Day,” “Why Try to Change Me Now,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” “That Lucky Old Sun” — but he has managed to make them sound like tunes he might well have penned at some point.
“I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough,” Dylan explains. “Buried, as a matter of 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.”
Not many artists could pull this off. And that’s what makes Bob Dylan, well, Bob Dylan. (Jeffrey Sisk)