076 – “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”

Episode 76
“Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.”
Together Through Life.
Blockhouse.
Recorded January 27, 2019.

Context

Our first song from Together Through Life was released as the record’s lead single and was featured on HBO’s True Blood. It was nominated for a Grammy in Best Rock Vocal Performance. Dylan has performed the song 428 times from July 10, 2009 to June 17, 2017.

Song Itself

Dylan is joined by Tony Garnier on bass, George Recile on drums, Mike Campbell on guitar, Donny Herron on steel guitar, banjo, trumpet and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos on the ubiquitous accordion. Dylan teamed up with Robert Hunter to write the song, which explains things.

Based on Otis Rush’s “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” shades of the Great Recession creep through the work. Kelly goes deeper into Murder Bob and the realities of exile and estrangement. The lyrics are vague and the apocalyptic sense is done to perfection on tracks like “Ain’t Talkin'” and “Things Have Changed” and so feels even more minor here.

Does it work in 2019?

The track is not even 10 years old as of recording so… yes. The production is exquisite and the accordion is a great touch for any casual fan and works similarly to Scarlett Rivera in Desire: a unique way to interpret Dylan’s songs that hasn’t been done before or since. The thinness of the lyrics almost doesn’t matter because of Dylan’s performance but it’s still an issue. Minor doesn’t always need to be pejorative. As the standout for Together Through Life (a minor album itself), I feel this will be trotted out for all kinds of “best of” comps in the future. That’s fine, but if not, it’s quite a find for some future Dylan fan exploring the man’s catalogue.

The episode’s playlist 

As always, we make a playlist for each and every episode of Sign on the Window. It helps us contextualize the song, deliver up some old favorites, discover many news ones, and keep us from losing our sanity listening to the same Dylan song over and over and over.

  • Welcome back to the playlist: Arcade Fire, Julien Baker, Minus the Bear, Underoath, Thursday, The Menzingers, Swearin’
  • Welcome for the first time: Deer Tick, Laura Marling, Great Collapse, Los Campesinos, The Explosion, Capital Cities, Bobby Darin, CHVCHES, Tiger Trap

Mixed Up Confusion

In our first Mixed Up of 2019, Kelly and I talk about our two month break over the holiday and revisit two shows – Tallest Man on Earth and Minus the Bear’s final Portland show on their farewell tour – for your pleasure.

Recommendations

It’s been two months since we closed out Season 2. What have we been doing in the interim? Kelly spent the holidays in Hawaii and finished Forever and Marvelous Ms. Maisel on Amazon and listened to new Karen O, Little People, Amanda Palmer and PUP.

Daniel watched Ken Burns’ out of date but impactful Jazz, in addition to new albums from Elliott Whitmore, Sharon Van Etten, Say Anything, Better Oblivion Community Center and new tracks from Vampire Weekend.

Also books: Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee Whittlesey; The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality by Anna-Lisa Cox and Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis by Sam Anderson. Read or listen to them on the Libby app linked to your local library!

Endings

A new feature for Season 3 will be Daniel grouping songs by category and Kelly winnowing down those she doesn’t want for the song that’ll be featured. This week, to celebrate Season 3, five songs from albums we still haven’t randomly selected in two seasons: “Album #1” (which would have been Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid), “Stack A Lee” from World Gone Wrong, “Pressing On” from Saved, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” from Dylan, “Country Pie” from Nashville Skyline.

Kelly chose “Stack a Lee.” See ya next week!

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