Dylan: Far from Retired

January 28, 2008

Bob Dylan has been getting a lot of press lately with documentaries, movies, magazine articles, and new CDs.  This new widespread public appreciation for all things Dylan is taking on the air of the rise of fame usually reserved to immediately follow the deaths of the greatest of authors, artists and celebrities.  Dylan is being appreciated in his lifetime as few others have. 

            Most of the new exposure to Dylan the public is getting also resembles that of dead artists; documentaries, books and movies all about Dylan, his work and his life. 

            Not only is Bob Dylan living but he continues in his music career. He has been touring worldwide almost nonstop since 1988 in what is being called the Never Ending Tour with over 2000 shows so far.  Along with the touring he has put out three new albums in 1997, 2001 and 2006.  All receiving great critical acclaim, especially the last two.

            Not only is Dylan still in business but he continues to move forward and remains in tune with the present.  Sometimes his being in tune with the present calls back to the 60s when he was called the Poet and Prophet.  Recently this has grown to be spooky. 

            His 2001 album Love and Theft’s was released Sept. 11, 2001 and contained the images of a world growing desperate and dark (especially in “High Water”).  This theme carried into his next album in 2006 Modern Times.  As stated in the Rolling Stone review,

It is inevitable to read “The Levee’s Gonna Break”–with its “people on the road carrying everything that they own”– in light of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, just as it was impossible to hear Love and Theft‘s “High Water” on September 12th, 2001, the day after its release, without thinking of the World Trade Center.

With his most recent works Dylan is achieving some of his greatest successes.  In 2000 he won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for best original song with “Things Have Changed” written for the film Wonder Boys. 

            His 2006 album Modern Times made #1 on the United States Billboard charts, his first since Desire (1976), making him the oldest person to make #1.  He was 65.   The album was also Bob Dylan's 'Modern Times'nominated for three Grammy’s winning two, including best solo rock performance.

          His new albums and music are quite different from “classic Dylan.”  They are a new and unique mixing of virtually all forms of uniquely American music blending jazz, blues, folk, folk/rock, country, rockabilly and even the classic big band sounds Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin used to sing to.  Again Dylan is creating his own sound and it is as true to his style as any past creations.

            I encourage you, in the midst of all the new publicity of Bob Dylan do not just turn to listening to the same few samples you have always heard.  Dylan is wonderfully gifted in creating and recreating and has given us many different expressions of music so do not limit yourself.  Explore the vastness of his talents and creations, new and classic.