Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Guess what? The first decade of the millenium is almost over! Not only do music enthusiasts "have to" come up with their favorite things from this year, but also the decade!

As I've just mentioned, Bob Dylan had was one my favorite (or one of my two favorite) albums of 2009, Together Through Life. But his other two albums from this decade - "Love + Theft" and Modern Times - are also classic. All produced by him, all devoid of high profile guest cameos, all done by Bob the way he likes to do it - not paying attention to what's going on today, and doing absolutely nothing to court the media's attention. I'd be happy to see a Dylan show where he just draws from those albums (although I'd want to add 1997's Time Out Of Mind as well). Of course I love his '60s stuff and some of his '70s stuff, and I'm not saying his '00s material is quite as earth shaking, but it holds up incredibly well.

Speaking of performing, the '90s were a goldern era, performance-wise, for Dylan. The shows were just stellar. I don't think the '00s have been quite as good, at least up until I saw him this summer. And since that show, guitarist Charlie Sexton has rejoined his band. I think he's back to being great in concert, and I hope to see him later this year.

Bob also was present in movie theaters. First with his cinematic vanity project that I still haven't seen : Masked & Anonymous. I heard it was a brilliant disaster. The soundtrack had Bob doing covers of traditional tunes, as well as Dylan's songs covered by Los Lobos, Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead. And then with I'm Not There, a Todd Haynes film based around his songs. Even though it didn't do for him what Across The Universe did for The Beatles, it was a very cool film with a great soundtrack that featured his songs interpreted by Eddie Vedder, Richie Havens, John Doe of X, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Sonic Youth, Calexico, Mark Lanegan, Willie Nelson, Roger McGuinn, Los Lobos and The Black Keys, among others.

Bob allowed his record label to mine his vaults while not seeming to rely on it too much. Still four volumes of The Bootleg Series over a decade was a cool bonus. The best one was Volume 8: which covered 1989 through 2008. Bob gave a bit of himself away as well, via the Martin Scorsese directed doc No Direction Home, Bob's book Chronicles Vol. 1 and Bob's satellite radio show Theme Time Radio Hour.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that Bob is my artist of the decade. (Although I still have to consider Jack White and Aimee Mann, to name two other candidates).

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