On "Together Through Life," Dylan adds Los Lobos' accordion player David Hidalgo to his current touring and recording band, creating the sound of a juke joint on the Texas/Mexico border and continuing his late-career streak of excellently bluesy Americana records.
Bob Dylan's latest touring and recording group has mastered the sound of a freewheeling bar band, backing Dylan's monolithic catalog with a rusty, down-home sound.
On "Together Through Life," Dylan adds Los Lobos' accordion player David Hidalgo to create the ambiance of a late-night juke joint on the Texas/Mexico border, a sort of country companion piece to "Nashville Skyline," with a little of the gypsy violin flourishes of his mid-'70s classic "Desire."
The disc was borne out of "Life is Hard," a song included here and originally penned with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter for a forthcoming film by French director Olivier Dahan, and things really do have the feel of a lazy Western saloon from some bizarro version of HBO's "Deadwood."
Dylan has always been a master of melding influences, adding a dash of blues and making them his own, from the casually-Latin rhythm of the opener, "Beyond Here Lies Nothin" to the accordion swing of "If You Ever Go to Houston" and the lilting "This Dream of You," which exhibits shades of "Desire's" "Mozamique" and "Romance in Durango."
And even if there aren't any instant lyrical classics here, Dylan still has a way with a phrase, "Shake shake mama like a ship goin' out to sea" and "There ain't no way you can put me down/I just wanna say that Hell's my wife's hometown" as just a couple examples.
"Together Through Life" is the sound of an after-hours club where Willie Nelson would probably hang out, as Dylan continues his late-career streak of excellent bluesy Americana albums.
For more on "Together Through Life," which will be released April 28, visit Dylan's Web site.