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Album Review
Women and Country

Women and Country
by Jakob Dylan


Review Date
27th April 2010
Reviewed by
Gareth Meade

As soon as this album begins, it’s obvious that Jakob Dylan is Bob Dylan’s son. Of course, everyone knows that, but for the first few seconds of ‘Nothing But The Whole Wide World’, it actually sounds like we should care. However, as quickly as you’ve cocked your eyebrow in surprise, it’ll just as quickly drop down to its original position once the song digresses into middle of the road mediocrity.

The main problem with Women and Country, apart from how safe it plays out, is that Jakob Dylan doesn’t comfortably fit the persona of a weather beaten troubadour; no matter how many double bass, lap steel or shuffling snare drum players he surrounds his unremarkable voice with. Take for example the line “I’m richer than a poor man should be”, from penultimate track ‘Smile When You Call Me That’. No matter what kind of character Dylan is trying to evoke, it just isn’t believable.

So in case you were left wondering, this album does transport us to the country, but it keeps us at a safe distance rather than allowing you to feel the untamed land beneath your feet. In simpler terms, this is more The Gambler than The Times They Are A Changin’. Things do manage to get interesting here and there though, such as on ‘Lend A Hand’, where all that’s missing is the gravelly voice of Tom Waits. Similarly with ‘We Don’t Live Here Anymore’, the song has promise but is missing a credible vocalist to fulfil it. No matter how much Dylan sounds like Springsteen on the song, he most certainly isn’t.

Basically, there is nothing offensive about this album, but there is nothing particularly exciting either. In the background, it works as a competent void filler, you might even find yourself turning it up at times. But it’s unlikely that it’ll be long before something else dominates your attention and you find yourself turning it down again, or turning it off altogether.

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