I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! I'm posting a track from my new album each week until the official release of "Held Momentarily" on January 20, 2015.   If you haven't already, check out the promotional video for the album on youtube (or here).

If you're in the NYC area, I'll be playing my album release show on Thursday, January 22nd at 7PM at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3.  I'd love to see you there!

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"Homesick" is the sixth song on the album.  This song was also written back in 2010--and has gone through some subtle shifts before making its way onto the album.  I had to really struggle with myself not to add more sections or overwrite this one.  I'm happy with the results.  This was the first song I produced and recorded for this album.  The recording features Lior Magal on bass, and was also mixed by Lior.

 

4 Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

004: Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

I had never heard this album before this week.

We've worked through several Dylan albums to this point.  I've admitted some trouble connecting with those records--though I see their undeniable genius.

This one just feels different.

"How does it fee--ee--el?"

Good question.  It was the first Dylan record I've listened to this year where after my first listen, I immediately played the album again from the top.  Desolation Row just kind of left me breathless.

I read the 33 1/3 book about this album (by Mark Polizzotti, see here).   The book thoroughly documents the writing and recording of this album (including the instrumentalists, producers, etc.).  I really enjoyed it--my one complaint being that he wrote at length about some songs that didn't make the final album, and then did not touch on several of the songs that were on the album.  It's also written for the faithful--taking it as a given that you know the Dylan mythology and shorthand.  I do not.

I also watched the documentary he filmed (just before this album was worked on) called Dont Look Back.  It was so interesting to see this side of someone so young and at the peak of their fame.  He's at a very pivotal point in his career, doing a solo acoustic British tour just before he shifts gears and starts touring with a band, embracing his early love of rock.  Watching the way he interacts with (read: eviscerates) interviewers and interlopers is hard to watch at times.

http://youtu.be/C6y7AXw5U6w

It was interesting to learn that Dylan's writing was not only inspired by authors and poets, but also visual artists.  It makes such perfect sense that this was the case considering how abstract and dreamily evocative his lyrics are.  It really inspired me to expand my notion of just what can influence songwriting.

My favorites from the album are Like A Rolling Stone (which he considers his best song ever written); It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry; Ballad Of A Thin Man; and Desolation Row.

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3 The Beatles - Revolver

003: The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

Again--I had never heard this album before.  A few of the songs, sure.

The thing I love about this album is the mixture of sounds and vibes on a single album.  This record was written and recorded during a major creative shift for the band.  McCartney was becoming more of an equal with Lennon.  Harrison was proving himself a powerful writing contributor, and brought his newfound love of Indian instrumentation to the band.  To me, there are reflections of their earlier work (with added bite) intermingled with their more audacious material that was still to come.  It makes for a very satisfying and surprising listening experience--a near impossible balance to strike.

Tomorrow Never Knows.

Incredible.  It still sounds so fresh.  That this band was able to give us so many interesting songs of such diverse style in such a compact period of time is astounding.

As a writer, I hate them while I (and everyone else who knows the score) yearn to rip the seams and discover their pattern, fabric and stitching choices.

Or maybe a course in channeling is in order.

My favorite songs Eleanor Rigby; I'm Only Sleeping; Here, There and Everywhere; For No One; and Tomorrow Never Knows.

I struggle with Yellow Submarine.  I want to place it in the same category as Octopus's Garden (not a compliment)...and yet there's something so appealing and forward-leaning about it (that brass section after the second verse, all the weird sound design and production choices).  Brilliant.

I want to say that by writing only 2 minute songs, they're somehow cheating.  Seriously though, how the hell do they do that?  It's so hard to pack in all that interest, and complete ideas, into a single song at all...that they do it in 2 minutes is just maddening.

[ no Spotify player for The Beatles, sorry.]
 

Verdict

I want to be honest with you.

You have to promise not to judge me.

Agreed?

[If not, lie to me]

Both of these albums (and the artists who gifted them to us) deserve very, very deep study and scrutiny.  Anyone who studied either would doubtlessly be rewarded exponentially.  At the end of the day, though, this (as with all things in life) comes down to choice and predilections.  I would choose to study the songcraft of The Beatles--good melody, harmonic interest and production resonate with me.  Bob Dylan is (for shizzle) an amazing poet and one of the most brilliant minds of our age.  Lyrics are important to me, but the other things I've mentioned are primary for me...and those are things that just don't matter as much to Dylan.  The Beatles give us a variegated perfection and directness.  Bob gives us raw, aloof, sometimes intentionally imperfect recordings/songs that are about story first and everything else second.  I've heard that the divide is between The Rolling Stones and The Beatles...you love one or the other, but you can't love both.  I would say it's much more possible to love both of those packs...maybe the line really is more between Dylan and The Beatles??

Up Next

Could this be the end of a year's journey?

002: The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966) 001: The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Want to listen ahead, or see some posts you may have missed? Check out the full list of the 100 Greatest Albums here.

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