Bob Dylan just turned 71, but he’s not even close to slowing down. There’s both a new tour and album on the way.
Dylan will return to the concert trail later this summer, beginning in Europe then returning to North America. The just-announced tour dates are below. His as-yet-untitled new recording project would be Dylan’s 35th, and his first since 2009 when he issued the holiday project Christmas in the Heart, and the critically acclaimed Together Through Life.
Most of the latest album news came courtesy of Isis magazine, which said the project would likely include as many as 10 tracks — including a pair of epic songs, one of them nine minutes and the other 14 minutes long.
That last song, according to music writer and Dylanologist Michael Gray (author of 2006′s The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia), will focus on the Titanic. Dylan previously mentioned the doomed oceanliner in “Desolation Row,” the closing track of 1965′s Highway 61 Revisited: “Praise be to Nero’s Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn — and everybody’s shouting: ‘Which side are you on?’”
Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, who played on both of Dylan’s 2009 projects, also earlier confirmed that he is appearing on the forthcoming album. “It was a great experience — and different,” he said. “Each one has been different, all completely different approaches. It’s an amazing thing, how he keeps creativity. I don’t see how he does it.”
Isis said the new Dylan album could be released as early as September.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Bob Dylan. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: BOB DYLAN: In honor of Bob Dylan’s birthday today, Something Else! Reviews presents 7 for 70 — our list of top recordings from across the 70-year-old’s lengthy career. We were careful to select at least one project from each of his five decades in music, stretching between 1963 and 2009, but didn’t order them in any particular way. The list is necessarily subjective. But like all birthday presents, it’s the thought that counts.
BOB DYLAN – TOGETHER THROUGH LIFE (2009): Bob Dylan, commissioned to do some soundtrack work, kept recording with the assembled group — ultimately producing a powerfully personal result. “Together Through Life” is a revelation in its stubborn unwillingness to move into the realm of Statements. Of Big Records. Of Career-Defining Blah Blah Blah. Dylan wants to make a small, good thing — focusing inward, mostly, talking about relationships with both honesty and a ragged sense of humor — and he brilliantly succeeds. Highlights include “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” and “My Wife’s Hometown,” both of which sound like shambling leftovers from Dylan’s late-1980s sessions in New Orleans with Daniel Lanois — complete with surprising synocations, biting guitar (courtesy of Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and fun, braying vocals.
ONE TRACK MIND: BOB DYLAN, “NOT DARK YET” (1997): For me, “Not Dark Yet” is the best thing Bob Dylan has done in ages, this perfect enigma from a guy who’s made a career of such sleights of hand. An edgy post-modern lament downshifted into quiet Civil War balladry, “Not Dark Yet,” remains a riddle — and maybe that’s the very definition of good art: It’s something that you never quite figure out. At first, when it appeared on 1997′s perhaps over-celebrated Time Out of Mind, I was thinking that this was Dylan looking back on his own life, on his many accomplishments, and seeing more to be done. Dylan, issuing his first original songs since 1990′s Under the Red Sky, had been slowed by a life-threatening illness. So, he realizes, now more than ever, that the clock is ticking. In a larger sense, he’s a guy, in keeping with the title of the Grammy award-winning album from which it came, who is out of time. Dylan is both misunderstood by a new generation, and also moving into the last third of his life.
SHOWS I’LL NEVER FORGET: BOB DYLAN, APRIL 21, 1993: On this night, Bob Dylan once again proved he was no fan of history. And that’s why I’ve been a fan of his for so long. See, I’ve always loved the in-concert head fake. After all, I already own the albums. Alas, showgoers in the modern age want the hits, and they want them note for teeth-splinteringly boring note. My response: You could hardly blame someone for not wanting to play a 25-year-old song the same old way. (In fact, to be honest, you could hardly blame him for not wanting to play them at all.) Well, some folks around me during this performance — right up front, third row — certainly did. Too bad. If you wanted to hear “Like a Rolling Stone” simply regurgitated, Dylan’s hard-eyed message was this: Buy the record. All night, he played with structure, changing the tempo (and sometimes the key) of most every tune. I was enthralled.
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Here are the latest announced 2012 tour dates for Bob Dylan:
06/30 – Tonbridge, UK: Hop Farm Music Festival
07/02 – Berlin, DE: Zitadelle Spandau
07/03 – Dresden, DE: Junge Garde
07/04 – Bonn, DE: KunstRasen Bonn/Gronau
07/06 – Bad Mergentheim, DE: Lieder im Schloß
07/07 – Salzburg, AU: Salzburg Arena
07/08 – Montreux, CH: Montreux Jazz Festival
07/11 – Bilbao, ES: Explanada del Museo Guggenheim
07/13 – Benicàssim, ES: Benicàssim Festival
07/14 – Cap Roig, ES: Cap Roig Festival
07/15 – Nîmes, FR: Festival de Nîmes
07/16 – Barolo, IT: Collisioni
07/18 – Lyon, FR: Les Nuits de Fourvière / Lyon
07/20 – Bayonne, FR: Arènes de Bayonne
07/22 – Carhaix, FR: Festival Vieilles Charrues
07/29-30 – Kent, UK: Hop Farm Fest
08/10 – Lloydminster, AB: Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds
08/11 – Lethbridge, AB: Enmax Centre
08/12 – Cranbrook, BC: RecPlex
08/14 – Missoula, MT: Big Sky Brewery
08/15 – Billings, MT: Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark
08/17 – Rapid City, SD: Barnett Arena
08/18 – Sioux Falls, SD: Sioux Falls Arena
08/19 – Fargo, ND: Civic Auditorium
08/21 – Rochester, MN: Taylor Arena
08/24 – Fort Wayne, IN: Parkview Field
08/25 – Indianapolis, IN: White River State Park
08/28 – Youngstown, OH: Covelli Centre
08/29 – Johnstown, PA: Cambria County War Memorial
09/01 – Big Flats, NY: Tag’s Summer Stage
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