"I'm searching for phrases/To sing your praises" Bob Dylan sings at the start of "Soon After Midnight," one of my favorite songs on his newly painted masterpiece, Tempest. More than anyone, Bob Dylan inspired me want to write. Hell, I still want to write, and Dylan remains an inspiration to millions of us who don't have his singular genius.
Indeed, Bob Dylan is such a towering figure that over the decades other significant artists have had been tagged as a "New Dylan" -- including real talents like Eric Anderson, John Prine, Loudon Wainwright III, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Forbert, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Ani DiFranco and Ben Harper, to name just a few. This week, of course, the Old Dylan himself is back with a timeless vengeance on Tempest, a powerful album that finds this lion in winter raging with all the brilliance that made him rock's most immortal bard. God bless and keep Bob.
At the same time, let's not forget all those other New Dylans who kept going while the times they were a-changin'. Steve Forbert also released a strong new album this week called Over With You, an album that finds the man who gave us the classic debut Alive on Arrival re-arriving as a middle-aged troubadour representing all those out there with hearts that are broken yet fully functioning.
Beautifully produced by Chris Goldsmith, and featuring some excellent backing by Ben Harper among others, Over With You is a welcome chance to revisit Forbert years after he first impressed us with his own distinctive charms. Like most of us, Steve was so much younger then -- he's older than that now. Yet as this new record shows, this former New Dylan may not be forever young, but he's always worth hearing.