Fifty years ago, Bob Dylan released his first album, "Bob Dylan." And on Sept. 11, the singer will release his 35th, called "Tempest," his record label announced Tuesday morning. The album features 10 new songs and is the first (non-Christmas) studio album since 2009's "Together Through Life."
Dylan is 71, continues to tour virtually year-round, and has done so for so long that people take his output and his schedule for granted. Unlike younger, heartier acts who go on the road for the requisite post-album summer tour, Dylan has been hitting the circuit regularly whether he has had any new material to offer or not. He's currently on a summer tour that will, ironically, conclude a few days before the release of "Tempest."
For a man who's been called America's bard more than once, it bears noting, if only in passing, the title of album 35: "Tempest" is strikingly similar to the title of William Shakespeare's final play, "The Tempest." Is this a sign from Dylan that his album days are ending? Only he knows for sure -- but if anyone understands the power of words, it's Bob Dylan.
Dylan, who earlier this year was honored with one of the nation's highest ciivilian honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is producing the album himself under his pseudonym Jack Frost, the same name he's used for production credits on albums ranging from 1990's "Under the Red Sky," "Time Out of Mind" and each of his albums in the '00s.
The press release from his longtime label Columbia is sparse on details details about "Tempest," but in the forum on the Dylan fan site expectingrain.com, one longtime member published a track listing that features titles such as "Duquesne Whistle," "Pay in Blood," and "Early Roman Kings."