Biased only by my utter fanaticism I will proceed. LJ is attempting to get press credentials for an early listening to the album. Tim Out of Mind, smoking catatonic weed and like most pot smokers, waiting for something to happen. The Paw, yours truly,watching how LJ’s journey goes down and clamoring in solitude. Rough and Rowdy Ways a more then tasty summer treat like a seasonal Sunday, yum. Three dense songs released to dance on our taste buds. Track one, a reflection of the artist. Two, a taste of the rowdier side and a response to the pope and public at large. No “false prophet” here, just a modern troubadour folk singing spaceman. Track ten, “Murder Most Foul”, a cinematic trounce through Kennedy’s assassination with sly finger pointing to a deeper state at work.
Three songs would have been enough to satisfy most fans of the Minnesota minstrel. A cohesive triad which stands its ground as is, not further touched. Instead we get introduced to seven more brothers and sisters sprung from the womb, the wellspring of youth encapsulated in an aged man with a black mop top. On the sixteenth of June, “Black Rider” leaks. Twas a song of mortality, reincarnation and afterlife cryptically delivered in verse. To be or not to be? Crooned away and the pondering of Leon Russell on keys once again. “Key West” a traveler’s log to the after life; sail away. The last two tracks leaked on the same auspicious day. Lost John posts in the group text, “Bare bones, that’s how you write songs. That’s just plain how you write.” I agree.
On the eighteenth, word arrived a chain store was selling copies of the album a day early. I hit the road to look in a town called Poughkeepsie. Picking the youngest store attendant who just might budge on handing over the album, I gave a sob story about a long travel there and pinned my request on her. She didn’t budge, Friday is all I heard and left defeated. Fast forward to the morning of release. ‘My Own Version of You”, track four, touches the speakers for the inaugural voyage. A Frankenstein esq tale and a romp and stomp through a modern Inferno. A cryptic tale of life, death and rebirth. Tasty in all regards. ‘I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You’, a man caught in love, thought, remembrance and the immediacy of life’s impressions. A beautiful and sensitive tune for certain.
‘Black Rider’, an atmospheric gunslinger’s jaunt with a South Western flare (simimgly about the speakers cheating wife). Track six? ‘Goodbye Jimmy Reed’, another toe-tapping blues riff, infectious and rivaling the sound of Love and Theft with a temperament of ‘Meet Me In the Morning’. ‘Mother of Muses’ strolls down the tracks of the album next; a longing song with the speaker in search of what expresses and creates. Let the muse be the voice of the Nobel Prize winning muse, that is the songs hope. Slow upon entry and transmitting like a hymn, the song seduces the speaker with its delicate sound and the relationship Dylan has had with said muse for multiple decades. “
“Crossing the Rubicon” follows up like a Mack truck coming fast down a county road. A pseudo historical narrative with Tempest like descriptors. I hear a reved up ‘Scarlet Town’ here the way the lines are etched in bone. ‘Key West’ slows that eighteen wheeler to a stroll. A gently sung tune, a journey for love and personal rebirth. Tim Out of Mind says, “This albums dense, much to research.” He’s right, dense like a thick stake no extra fat; none. Bare boned like LJ said and the album sits down next to you, stays and befriends. Thank you once again to the Minnesota Minstrel especially for a gift of such pleasure. Enjoy your time spent.
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