Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Is it too early to discuss the best albums (songs, tours, events) of 2009? Hell no! There aren't too many more non-catalog releases. Plus, I'm not great at lists, but I can start talking about my favorite albums and/or songs now.

I can pretty much say that my favorite album of the year is Bob Dylan's Together Through Life (along with The Cocktail Slippers' Saint Valentine Day's Massacre, depending on my mood).

I think that Bob has been on a roll since 1997's Time Out Of Mind, one of my favorite albums by the man. That was my favorite album that year. "Love + Theft" from 2001 was my favorite that year. Modern Times from 2006 may not have been quite as good, but was in my top three that year. Together Through Life is better than Modern Times if not as good as Love + Theft. As he has done on both of those albums, Bob produced it, and doesn't have guest stars on different songs. He just put together a great band that included Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers, David Hildago of Los Lobos and Tony Garnier of Bob's touring band, and he co-wrote the songs with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. The songwriting is simple but not simplistic and has a sly sense of humor that has infused his music over the past decade, and the band plays as a band, not a backing band. I just love it.

In the '90s, I went to see Bob in concert often, and it was always pretty great. Up until this past summer, I'd only seen him three times this decade, and all three shows were pretty disappointing. Then I went a fourth time and it was an incredible show. And that was before he reunited with guitarist Charlie Sexton, who left the band in 2002. It's amazing how vital Bob is, as he is approaching 70!

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