Hear a Track From 'Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes' - Rolling Stone
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Hear Bob Dylan’s ‘New Basement Tapes’ Cut ‘Nothing to It,’ Sung by Jim James

The song also features Elvis Costello and Marcus Mumford backing the singer

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, Elvis Costello and Marcus Mumford are among those who take on Bob Dylan in “Nothing to It,” the first track released from Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. 

The new album features a collection of lyrics that Dylan wrote while recording the original Basement Tapes in 1967 set to newly written music. Producer T Bone Burnett handpicked a group of musicians for their songwriting and bandleader abilities and recorded the tune live in a studio located, appropriately enough, in the basement of the Capitol Records Building in Los Angeles. Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens also appear on the track. The album will be available in as deluxe and standard CD and digital releases, as well as a double-LP vinyl box set.

“Nothing to It” shows Dylan, who was 26 at the time, in a particularly bold state of mind. “I knew I was young enough, and I knew there was nothing to it/ ‘Cause I’d already seen it done enough and I knew there was nothing to it,” Dylan writes. From there, Dylan condemns greed and contemplates desperate measures to survive his desperation. In James’ hands, the tune is a jaunty, bass-heavy track with psychedelic guitar leads and vocals that alternate between the stunningly short and blithely soaring.

“What transpired during those two weeks was amazing for all of us,” Burnett said in a statement. “There was a deep well of generosity and support in the studio at all times, which reflected the tremendous trust and generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us in the first place.”

On the rest of the album, each of the “bandleaders” takes a turn singing and trading off on instruments, recording each of the songs live over the course of two weeks. Costello had to miss one session, so actor Johnny Depp filled in for a recording of a tune titled “Kansas City.” Filmmaker Sam Jones documented the sessions for a special, titled Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued, that will air on Showtime on November 21st. 

The record is due out November 11th, but the digital edition is available for preorder on iTunes and Amazon now. Preorders include “Nothing to It” as an instant-gratification track, and will include four more songs before the release date. Vinyl preorders include a 10-inch of the five songs instant-gratification tunes.

Here is the track list for the deluxe edition of Lost on the River:

1. Down on the Bottom
2. Married to My Hack
3. Kansas City
4. Spanish Mary
5. Liberty Street
6. Nothing to It
7. Golden Tom – Silver Judas
8. When I Get My Hands on You
9. Duncan and Jimmy
10. Florida Key
11. Hidee Hidee Ho #11
12. Lost On The River #12
13. Stranger
14. Card Shark
15. Quick Like A Flash
16. Hidee Hidee Ho #16
17. Diamond Ring
18. The Whistle Is Blowing
19. Six Months in Kansas City (Liberty Street)
20. Lost on the River #20

In This Article: Bob Dylan, T Bone Burnett


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