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.