Women Country (Columbia)
Sepia-toned and sleepy,
the entire soundscape might have been lifted directly from the cutting-room
floor of Robert Plant/Alison Krauss’ Raising
Sand. The occasional weepy fiddle, dobro, border-café horns and upright
bass turned to 11 bear the obvious vintage-washed rock/country/folk mark of
Burnett. Mostly it’s the perfect dusk lighting for Dylan to explore his world
of buzzards overhead, sheets blowing on clotheslines in wide-open America and,
definitely, blood on the tracks. What with the spooky Peckinpah-ish “We Don’t
Live Here Anymore,” ready-to-give-up “Down On Our Own Shield” and wounded
“Standing Eight Count,” strife and discord hang thick.
In fact, though he holds an unquestionably unremarkable voice, and the songs generally feel of a piece, much of his two solo albums offer the image of Dylan as a fighter—ignorant to criticism and what has to be the worst artistic shadow in popular music history. Or, maybe, it’s the sound of defiant reticence from a man accepting his limitations and making the most of them. Either way, he’s miles from “One Headlight,” and that alone is something to get behind.