So we just found out on Tuesday that Bob Dylan is releasing a new album, entitled Tempest, on September 11. I don’t know about you, but album announcements don’t usually get me too riled up. It’s hard to get excited about a press release accompanied by a list of out-of-context song titles, especially when the payoff can be so far away. I mean, September is like a year away (delayed gratification and I are not friends). This announcement was different though, and not just because it’s Bob Dylan, and that’s reason enough to get one’s undies in a bunch. My undies bunched double because I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, the “Scarlet Town” that’s included on the track list was a cover of the “Scarlet Town” Gillian Welch released on her 2011 album The Harrow & The Harvest. I even spent like 30 minutes drafting unsent Tweets about it:
“Part of me is hoping that “Scarlet Town” from Bob Dylan’s upcoming album is a cover of the @gillianwelch tune. The other part of me thinks that’s wrong.”
Other drafts were less circumspect, focusing on how I’d probably pee my pants if my theory were to hold true. (Does anyone else routinely spend half an hour writing tweets they don’t send? Anyone? Please tell me I’m not the only one.)
But all that excitement and subsequent guilt over rooting for a cover from the greatest songwriter of all time vanished into thin air when I actually took the time to read the whole press release, which states clearly that Tempest features “ten new and original Bob Dylan songs.” Well, then. There goes that. Guess I should know better than to try to predict Bob Dylan’s behavior. After all, this exists.
My Tempest gratification may be delayed until September, but Tuesday was kind enough to balance things out by dropping a brick of pure, uncut, instant gratification in my lap via a text from my friend Tex (say that 5 times fast) asking if I’d heard the new Old Crow Medicine Show album.
New Old Crow album? Wait… what new Old Crow album?!? This new Old Crow album, apparently — a high-octane, 12-song tear through the old-time ensemble’s world of reminiscence, protests and parties. I had no clue Carry Me Back existed. None. Zip. Zero. Getting Tex’s text was like being on the receiving end of a Predator drone strike, only if Predator drones attacked people with smiles and happiness.
For a second I thought a marketing ploy was to blame, that maybe Carry Me Back was kept under wraps to create a bigger splash on the day of its release. Nope. Members of OCMS did an interview with NPR last Sunday. They’ve been slowly rolling out a series of YouTube videos featuring the new songs. Paste did an entire feature on the band, in which Carry Me Back is discussed at length. So where was I? Who knows. Thank goodness for friends who look out for your musical interest. And thank goodness Old Crow is coming to central Virginia not once but TWICE in the month of August — once to Richmond and then to Charlottesville a couple weeks later — and both times with The Lumineers in tow!
While we have to while just a little while longer for the August 1 show in Richmond at Maymont Park, you can get your own instant gratification fix by checking out live versions of three Carry Me Back songs below (two audio and one video), and by clicking here to buy the album on iTunes.