Jakob Dylan: Seeing Things (Sony/BMG)

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Jakob Dylan: Something Good This Way Comes
Jakob Dylan: Seeing Things (Sony/BMG)

This son of Bob will be 40 next year and has a substantial career behind him with the Wallflowers (five albums) plus some high-profile guest spots. But with this debut under his own name you have to ask, "Aren't you a bit young for this?"
That's because the album is a stripped-back (mostly) solo affair produced by Rick Rubin who is widely known these days for reviving the careers of Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond by employing the same technique.
That said -- and you hate to rain on anybody's big-selling parade -- this is much more interesting than that most recent Diamond album.
Lyrics aside -- and he's a bleak kinda fellah -- this Dylan sounds uncannily like a young Jackson Browne in many places and has a similar phrasing and way with a languid delivery of a crisp melodic line. He possesses a voice which engages you immediately and sharp material like the memorable Valley of the Low Sun (as with others about the war/soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan) could have come off a world-weary, resigned Browne album like The Pretender of '74.
Although little here grabs on a first hearing you may be surprised that second time through you've remembered just about every song, then the detail will come out: the moody swamp-country of Will It Grow; the bluesy substructure of I Told You I Couldn't Stop; the flash of optimism on Something Good This Way Comes; the effortless juxtaposition of chilling words and warm melody on This End of the Telescope . . .
Doubtless some will make the spurious comparison between this Dylan and the other, but an open mind will acknowledge that although this does have a sameyness over the 10 tracks it is also the work of a mature and incisive singer-songwriter.

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