Bob Dylan has been speaking about his new album, Tempest.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dylan explained that the album – his 35th studio record – started out as “something more religious,” he says. “I just didn’t have enough [religious songs]. Intentionally, specifically religious songs is what I wanted to do. That takes a lot more concentration to pull that off 10 times with the same thread – than it does with a record like I ended up with.”
The album was recorded in Jackson Browne‘s studio in Los Angeles with Dylan’s touring band – bassist Tony Garnier, drummer George G. Receli, steel guitarist Donnie Herron, and guitarists Charlie Sexton and Stu Kimball – as well as David Hidalgo on guitar, violin and accordion.
The title track is a 14 minute epic about the Titanic disaster, with Dylan drawing from a number of sources including the Carter Family song, “The Titanic”.
“I was just fooling with that one night,” Dylan explains to author Mikal Gilmore. “I liked that melody – I liked it a lot. ‘Maybe I’m gonna appropriate this melody.’ But where would I go with it?”
Dylan also makes reference in the song to James Cameron‘s multi-Oscar winning movie about the disaster, which took place in April, 1912. “Yeah, Leo [DiCaprio],” says Dylan. “I don’t think the song would be the same without him. Or the movie.”
As to whether the title is, as some have suggested, a reference to Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, Dylan was quick to make a distinction, explaining to Rolling Stone: “Shakespeare’s last play was called The Tempest. It wasn’t called just plain Tempest. The name of my record is just plain Tempest. It’s two different titles.”
You can read Uncut editor Allan Jones’ sneak preview of the album here.
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