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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Ben Sidran: Dylan Different
(Nardis Music)

Ben Sidran, the local legend who wrote "Space Cowboy" in his time with the Steve Miller Band, won a Peabody for his NPR series Talking Jazz and produced albums for everyone from Van Morrison to Diana Ross, heads back to his roots on his newest CD, a collection of Bob Dylan covers.

Featuring a dozen classics, the album pays tribute to Dylan's legacy while forging its own identity as an original work. Filled from start to finish with low, dry, almost-spoken vocals, it makes you think of Dylan one moment and a smoky jazz club the next.

"Subterranean Homesick Blues" ventures into rap territory with a funky, jazzy groove, while "Tangled Up in Blue" creates the perfect soundtrack for a coffeehouse full of Beat poets. "Maggie's Farm" takes a psychedelic turn with a fantastically creepy organ solo reminiscent of Santana's "Black Magic Woman."

The final track, "Blowin' in the Wind," is one of the most stunning. Stripped down to a few simple, beautiful piano chords and Sidran's voice, it channels the gravity of Leonard Cohen while hinting at Tom Waits as well. It's definitely worth checking out.

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