Published Nov 11, 2014There might be no one better in music today than T-Bone Burnett to oversee the creation and production of music to support long-lost lyrics from that beacon of Americana, Bob Dylan. Combine Burnett's immense skill as a producer with a who's who of musical archivists like Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith, Rhiannon Giddens and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and you're pretty much guaranteed a project full of honest, rootsy warmth. Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes doesn't fail to deliver on all that potential.
With such a large cast of worthy participants, it's a wonder that each contributor manages to get what feels like an appropriate amount of spotlight time. Mumford is especially good on the slinking, supple "Get My Hands on You," and Rhiannon (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops) shines on the bluegrass workout "Duncan and Jimmy." Jim James, well — Jim James dominates every time he takes mic duties here. "Quick Like A Flash" is heavier than it has any right to be and "Nothing To It" pops and jumps with big shiny happiness; both songs are helmed by James.
It's easy with all the musical chops on display here to forget that these are Dylan's lyrics. Songs like "Married to My Hack" and "Stranger" read like classic Dylan, full of humour, longing and every other human emotion you can think of. Lost on the River is a beautiful celebration of the incredible scope of Dylan's reach. Even the songs he didn't record are continuing to inspire great artists to continue producing great work (Universal)