Bob Dylan has long been noted for his ability to transform his songs so that when he plays them live, they barely resemble their studio counterparts. So, it’s fitting that Counting Crows open and close their set with Dylan covers on their new live album Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow, which the band recorded during their 2012 tour. In a further nod to Dylan’s talents, they have the cleverness (or audacity) to push Dylan’s work far from the source material. Album opener “Girl From the North County” is slowed down into a sparse, haunting arrangement. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” retains Dylan’s bouncing tempo, but gains a barroom swing with twinkling keys and thick guitar riffs.
The band’s own material isn’t considered sacrosanct, either. Counting Crows push “Round Here,” one of their biggest early hits, into a 10-minute epic, at times taking on an early Seventies funk feel and at others, prairie-style country & western. On “Mercury,” when Adam Duritz sings, “She is leaving me in disarray,” it sounds like the break-up happened yesterday. It’s a daring set from a band that proven its ability to reverberate through the decades, rather than simply fading away.
Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow, out on November 12th, is available for pre-order now.