Bob Dylan gives his first interview in three years to the AARP magazine, in which he talks about virtue, God’s leading, and his new album of Frank Sinatra standards.
As a teenager, I could never, in my most fevered adolescent imaginations, conceive of that sentence or any part of it being written about Bob Dylan. Nor could I conceive of myself, 45 years later, appreciating what he says so much.
But you’ve got to read the interview, excerpted and linked after the break. It’s thoughtful, revealing, and musically perceptive. You can also hear a track from the new album, Shadows in the Night, to be released February 3. Bob is singing it, crooning it, to the background of a five piece band with steel guitar, and it sounds lovely.
From Robert Love, Bob Dylan Exclusive Shadows in the Night Interview – AARP:
Q: Why did you make this record now?
A: Now is the right time. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard Willie [Nelson]’s Stardust record in the late 1970s. All through the years, I’ve heard these songs being recorded by other people and I’ve always wanted to do that. And I wondered if anybody else saw it the way I did.
Q: It’s going to be some-thing of a surprise to your traditional fans, don’t you think?
A: Well, they shouldn’t be surprised. There’s a lot of types of songs I’ve sung over the years, and they definitely have heard me sing standards before.
Q: You are very respectful of these melodies — more than you are of your own songs when you perform.
A: I love these songs, and I’m not going to bring any disrespect to them. To trash those songs would be sacrilegious. And we’ve all heard those songs being trashed, and we’re used to it. In some kind of ways you want to right the wrong.Q: I noticed that Frank Sinatra recorded every one of these songs. Was he on your mind?
A: When you start doing these songs, Frank’s got to be on your mind. Because he is the mountain. That’s the mountain you have to climb, even if you only get part of the way there. And it’s hard to find a song he did not do. He’d be the guy you got to check with. People talk about Frank all the time. He had this ability to get inside of the song in a sort of a conversational way. Frank sang to you — not at you. I never wanted to be a singer that sings at somebody. I’ve always wanted to sing to somebody. I myself never bought any Frank Sinatra records back then. But you’d hear him anyway — in a car or a jukebox. Certainly nobody worshipped Sinatra in the ’60s like they did in the ’40s. But he never went away — all those other things that we thought were here to stay, they did go away. But he never did.