Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

With the release of their previous album, Fate, Dr. Dog hit the nail on the head. In a few words Dr. Dog is the revival of fun Americana music with twists and turns at every corner taking the listener to a place they did not know this kind of music could take them to.

At one moment it’s sentimental and sweet and the next moment it’s abrasive and rude. Somehow Dr. Dog can cause one to explore the full gamut of human emotions while sounding like the same band from song to song. Being such a huge fan of Fate, I was excited see how the band would be able to follow up an album so vast. The result, titled “Shame, Shame” takes what Dr. Dog did with Fate and turns it up to 11! It is a perfect blend of folk, rock, blues, and pop encompassing everything that’s possible in their genre. It is musically and lyrically mature echoing bands of the caliber of The Beatles and The Band as opposed to their contemporaries.

Jakob Dylan – Women & Country

Jakob Dylan is all too familiar with the world of music. Besides the fact that his father, Bob Dylan, is considered one of the greatest songwriters to have ever lived, Jakob himself has been in the music business writing his own songs since the forming of his band, The Wallflowers, in 1989. In 2006 Dylan made a move from the world of rock to the world of folk music. “Women and Country, his second full length folk album released in January of 2010, is a prime example of an artist being able to shake off any expectations his family name may cause him, and creating an original album all his own.

Dylan’s first full length folk album, “Seeing Thing,” was an album of decent folk songs that really added up to no more than an okay album. Not that it was bad, it was just a bit lost as far as what Dylan wanted to do with this new world he was exposing himself to and what kind of songs did he want to write. “Women and Country,” however, finds a Jakob Dylan more solid and developed than his first album. The songs are unique but hold the same vibe from beginning to end. Not only that but the production of the album, courtesy of the incomparable T Bone Burnett, is classic, stylish, and beautifully simple. The one aspect of the album that really sets it apart in my opinion was Dylan’s decision to employ the vocal talents of Neko Case and Kelly Hogan on the entire album.

With the addition of T Bone Burnett’s direction and the exemplary talents of Case and Hogan, “Women and Country” far exceeds Dylan’s first album. While he may not be as lyrically profound or prolific as his father, Dylan writes songs that are easy to understand and easy to listen to. In the future I’d love to see him explore depper lyrical ideas and more complex song structures but for a simple folk album, he did a good job with this one.