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The valley of the low son

July 24, 2008

If it’s hard living up to a famous parent, try living up to Bob Dylan.  Of course, Jakob Dylan must have given up ages ago.  Twelve years back he was a one hit wonder with The Wallflowers, now mostly forgotten.  Everyone would have written him off ages back, which at least takes away the pressure to perform.

It’s into this world of low expectations, that Dylan’s solo record of 2008 emerges.  Seeing Things is pretty unassuming, too.  No big rock numbers a la The Wallflowers.  No obvious tributes to dad’s heyday.  Dylan has recorded an acoustic folk album with a very moody, gothic sensibility.

The most obvious touchstone is Crooked Fingers’ darker-than-dark Americana.  Dylan even has the same semi-forced, awkward intonation and accent as Eric Bachmann and he loves to overuse the same words like “evil”.  Sometimes he’s more bluesy and catchy (like on “All Day and All Night”), but it’s a very restrained album and not a very happy one.

I’m not sure how many people are going to embrace this disc, but I hope it finds its market.  There’s certainly a place in my CD collection for a talented singer and guitarist who wants to explore the dark side.

Jakob Dylan – “Valley of the Low Sun”

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