When Bob Dylan assembled the members of The Band in 1967 to churn through 100 songs in a West Saugerties basement, it became a moment of musical folklore. Recently it was discovered that Dylan had uncovered a pile of lyrics from that era that had yet to be put to music.
With T-Bone Burnett at the helm the group, The New Basement Tapes, was pulled together (with Dylan’s blessing) to turn these words into song. The names Elvis Costello, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Taylor Giddens (Dawes), Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) all inspire confidence before having heard a moment of the product. Marcus Mumford was also enlisted.
Lost On The River stays true to the ‘feel’ of the original Basement Tapes sessions with authentic roots sounds that would feel right at home at Big Pink. Taylor Giddens has a voice that could spin gold and his harmonies are one of the album’s high points. James has been quite the chameleon amongst his differing projects in the past and is at home here on one of the album’s peaks, the breezy Nothing To It.
Lost On The River doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to mimic Dylan and manages not to feel laboured even though it is ultimately over 40 years in the making. It is every bit as interesting as the popular Mermaid Avenue series.