Listen To: The New Basement Tapes

Listen To: The New Basement Tapes

Leigh MichaelFriday,2 January 2015

Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes made its graceful debut last November. It also managed to slip under the radar, a shock considering the content and the performers. It’s hard to match Bob Dylan, but this group did it with gold stars. Elvis Costello, Taylor Goldsmith (of Dawes), Rhiannon Giddens (of Carolina Chocolate Drops), Jim James (the head honcho of My Morning Jacket), and Marcus Mumford (you guessed it! Mumford and Sons) all tackled Bob Dylan’s previously unreleased tracks, creating an album that is as much an honor to a songwriting genius as it is an original tour de force.

You can buy the album on Amazon or iTunes.

Bob Dylan took a break from the spotlight after a big motorcycle accident in 1967. He moved up to West Saugerties, a little town on the outer edges of the Catskills, got together with a bunch of musicians who would later become The Band, and started to write.

Of the hundreds of songs written during that period, only a few surfaced to the public ear. These became known as the beloved Basement Tapes.

A few years ago, producer T Bone Burnett was given 20 of these precious songs. Armed with these lyrics, he set out to create a group who would pay homage to Dylan in stride. His efforts were a success.

Whether you’re a fervent Bob Dylan fan or run for hiding the moment you hear “Tombstone Blues,” The New Basement Tapes deserve 70 minutes of your time. The diversity of the artists — Costello and Mumford aren’t usually clumped in the same genre sentences — makes it a great sampler platter of unique styles and sounds. A few highlights:

Kansas City” — Marcus Mumford

Married to My Hack” — Elvis Costello

Hidee Hidee Ho #16” — Rhiannon Giddens and Elvis Costello

“Down on the Bottom” — Jim James (video below)

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Hat Tips:

The New Basement Tapes, Pitchfork, Image Credit: Flickr

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