Various Artists

Tangled Up in Bluegrass: A Tribute to Dylan

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Tangled Up in Bluegrass offers 12 instrumental versions of songs from the master of folk, Bob Dylan. The songs have been chosen from throughout Dylan's career, from the early "Don't Think Twice" to the recent "Love Sick." The arrangements are mostly acoustic, with an occasional organ or electric guitar thrown in. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" begins with the same pacing as the original only to push itself into high gear, evoking a sound reminiscent of the New Riders of the Purple Sage. "She Belongs to Me" receives some nice jazz-grass fiddle by way of Richard Greene, while David West -- the central player in this whole effort -- adds some great guitar work to "Tangled Up in Blue." The upbeat version of "Love Sick" is one of the better cuts on the album, and it's refreshing that someone decided to do a new Dylan song instead of just relying on the classics. One of the revelations of this project is that Dylan's songs hold up very well as instrumentals; and to those who never appreciated the uniqueness of his vocals, this album shows that they really were good songs with good melodies. It is also curious how natural certain songs -- "Don't Think Twice" or "Mr. Tambourine Man" -- sound on a banjo. Could it be that Dylan's roots run deeper into the Appalachians than is commonly recognized? This may not be the most original approach to Dylan's oeuvre, but it will probably be of interest to his fans and bluegrass aficionados searching for something a little different.

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