critic's pick 69

bob dylan: together through life

bob dylan: together through life

Everything seems to come with a price in the music of Bob Dylan.

Take the characters that inhabit Together Through Life, a quickly assembled set of new songs co-written by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and cut with jagged spontaneity by Dylan’s road band (and a few friends) last fall. Seemingly designed for hard times, they search like nomads for love and tranquility but have to crawl through deceit, even murder, to find anything remotely close to a promised land.

Fittingly, Together Through Life begins with a storm – a ruptured rhumba called Beyond Here Lies Nothin’. It professes love at the edge of doomsday – specifically, streets of busted windows that outline “mountains of the past.”

What a choice – Dylan’s love sung with dry-heaving devotion or oblivion.

Where does this rough and rootsy parade wind up? Why, with It’s All Good, which may go down as one of Dylan’s penultimate gag tunes. Good? Is he kidding? The song chugs along with a wary boogie groove as politicians flaunt corruption, killers stalk towns, neighborhoods crumble and misery engulfs the land. Even Dylan’s own profile takes a beating: “Talk about me, babe, if you must. Throw out the dirt, pile on the dust.”

The sound of such romanticism is fleeting and fascinating in an almost Tom Waits-like way. Instead of the warmer, minstrel-like facades of 2001’s Love and Theft or the more deliberate stillness of 2006’s Modern Times, Together Through Life colors stories of truly desperate love in brittle electric shells that at times sound like vintage Mississippi blues records. The drive then intensifies thanks to cameos by longtime Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell and swings to troubled bordertowns with accordion strides from Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo. The album is, in many ways, a rural record that travels through some very troubled recesses of the South.

But there is a wonderful immediacy to this music, too. Together Through Life is the fourth studio album of new songs since Dylan became vital and relevant again in 1997. It is also the least approachable. Even when the accordion orchestration lightens on If You Ever Go to Houston, the mood remains tense. Dylan’s Houston is decidedly not set in the present day. It is an outlaw town that calls for tight gun belts and detached cunning.

Wild humor lives along these mean streets, too. My Wife’s Home Town is set, unsurprisingly, in hell where women goad their willing husbands into murderous deeds (“I lost my reasons long ago; my love for her is all I know”). But when we hear Dylan’s hoarse cackle as the song fades, one has to wonder who the real devil here is.

Half vaudevillian, half ravaged troubadour, Dylan works more in a circling pattern on Together Through Life than on his last three critically lauded albums. While the bluesy, bordertown feel is thoroughly absorbing, Together Through Life is, lyrically, like a walk in the desert. This music is arid, ominous and unrelenting. And forget salvation as its reward. Dylan is simply looking for a little human emotion on these songs.

Ultimately, though, Together Through Life, is not a weighty album. In fact, Dylan all but grins like a Cheshire though his new music. There may indeed be “nothin'” up ahead. But Dylan offers enough wicked desperation from the here and now as compensation.


US Fed News Service, Including US State News January 19, 2012 MORGANTOWN, W.

Va., Jan. 18 — West Virginia University issued the following news release:

The West Virginia University community now has one more opportunity to reach major cities without driving or flying. go to web site megabus promotion code

As of Jan. 13, WVU’s Mountaineer Station is the site of a new stop in the Megabus service, a discount bus service that connects riders to major cities on the East Coast.

Introductory fares are $17 each way a person to Pittsburgh or Washington, D.

C. Some fares as low as $1.50 a person, but to take advantage of this rate, the reservation should be made as early as possible.

The trips to and from Pittsburgh travel between Mountaineer Station, the intermodal center on WVU’s Evansdale campus, and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Trips to and from the nation’s capital go through Union Station, a transportation hub off the National Mall with connections to Amtrak, Maryland and Virginia rail service, and the D.

C. Metro system.

Those seeking eco-friendly transportation have another reason to ride Megabus. The company’s goal is to take passengers out of their cars and to use more environmentally conscious transportation. In December 2009, the company received the Green Coach Passenger Miles certification, which means the company met or exceeded an average of 148 passenger miles per gallon. The company continues to work on increasing its environmental stewardship.

“Megabus is another service that the University is encouraging to provide a variety of transportation opportunities to not only University students and employees but also to the Morgantown community,” said Hugh E. Kierig, director of Transportation and Parking. “Megabus complements the Grey Line service offered by Mountain Line to the Pittsburgh Airport and the Pittsburgh Greyhound Terminal.” Here is the current schedule for Megabus trips entering and leaving Morgantown: this web site megabus promotion code

* Buses from Morgantown to Pittsburgh leave Mountaineer Station at 2:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and arrive in Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. respectively * Buses from Morgantown to Washington, D.

C. leave Mountaineer Station at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and arrive in Washington at 5 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. respectively Lindsay Willey, 304/293-2381,

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