This Bob Dylan article was written by James Dawson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall.
Bob Dylan has announced an extensive US tour in June and July. Following on from his April tour of Japan and totaling 27 dates, the tour will kick off on June 4th with two dates in Woodinville, Washington then winding around the country before closing on July 17th in Gilford, New Hampshire. The tour will see Dylan returning to Queens, New York’s Forest Hills Stadium for the first time since 1965 when the tennis arena hosted his second-ever electric performance.
Long-time associate and some-time collaborator, gospel legend Mavis Staples, will accompany Dylan on the tour. Staples and Dylan have links going back right to the beginnings of their long, decorated careers. Dylan has cited The Staple Singers 1956 ‘Uncloudy Day’ as a formative influence and The Staple Singers covered Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ in 1963. In recent years they have duetted on a re-recording of Dylan’s ‘Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking’ in 2003, while each has contributed to a documentary about the other, with Staples interviewed for Martin Scorsese’s ‘No Direction Home’ and Dylan for last year’s ‘Mavis!’
In addition to the tour Dylan has announced the release of a new album, his 37th, ‘Fallen Angels’. Slated for a May 20th release, four days before Dylan’s 75th birthday, it will be Dylan’s first studio effort since 2015’s ‘Shadows In The Night.’ On that album Dylan changed pace from the folk and blues territory he normally occupies by covering, or “uncovering” in his words, 10 songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, garnering critical acclaim for the resurgence of his voice and the sparse, atmospheric accompaniment.
While official details on ‘Fallen Angels’ are scarce, it seems likely that Dylan will repeat the trick with another album of Sinatra covers. The usually reliable Dylan fan magazine ‘Isis’ reports that there will be a Record Store Day EP released, comprising four tracks culled from the album, all songs performed at one time or another by Sinatra.
If this proves to be the case, then the two albums will form an interesting mirror to Dylan’s two acoustic albums of folk and blues covers from the early 1990’s, ‘Good As I Been To You’ and ‘World Gone Wrong’, albums which signaled both Dylan’s return to the critical good-books, after the desolate 80’s had seen his artistic stock plummet, and the trad-rock direction his career has taken since.
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