Bob Dylan's surprise new album officially has a name: Together Through Life. According to a press release, the LP will be released on April 28th. Produced by Jack Frost (Dylan's studio alter ego), the album sprang from "Life Is Hard," a track Dylan wrote for the forthcoming film My Own Love Song by French director Oliver Dahan. As Dylan explains in a four-page Q&A posted on his official Website, "The only thing he needed for sure was a ballad for the main character to sing towards the end of the movie. We started off with 'Life Is Hard' and then the record sort of took its own direction." Dylan's site also revealed the album cover, which depicts two lovers embracing in a back seat.
Rolling Stone recently previewed Dylan's upcoming album, which focuses on struggling-love songs. As David Fricke reported, Dylan placed accordion on every track, and the songs have "the live-in-the-studio feel of Dylan's last two studio records, 2001's Love and Theft and 2006's Modern Times, but with a seductive border-cafe feel."Â A source in the Dylan camp told RS, "You would never expect the record after Modern Times to sound like this. Bob takes all of those disparate elements you hear and puts them into a track. But you can't put your finger on it — 'It sounds exactly like that.' That's why he's so original."
In the Q&A posted on his Website, Dylan explains he took a new sonic direction because "These songs don't need to cover the same ground." Talking about his audience, he adds:
"There didn't seem to be any general consensus among my listeners. Some people preferred my first period songs. Some, the second. Some, the Christian period. Some, the post Colombian. Some, the Pre-Raphaelite. Some people prefer my songs from the nineties. I see that my audience now doesn't particular care what period the songs are from. They feel style and substance in a more visceral way and let it go at that. Images don't hang anybody up. Like if there's an astrologer with a criminal record in one of my songs it's not going to make anybody wonder if the human race is doomed. Images are taken at face value and it kind of freed me up."
Together Through Life will include "Beyond Here Lies Nothing," "If I Ever Go To Houston" and "It's All Good." For much more on the album, check out Dylan Records Surprise Modern Times Follow-Up.
This morning Dylan was also named one of the headliners at this year's Rothbury Festival, taking place at Michigan's Double JJ Ranch on July 2nd-5th.