One has to wonder, deep down, what Robert Zimmerman thinks of his status as the 600-pound gorilla in the room anytime someone investigates roots in America. The new kids (even scraggly wizened ones like Steve Earle) can try any new tricks they like, but with Dylan cranking out new works like Woody Allen lately, and with his Never-Ending-Tour moving way past the point of being a victory lap, anyone even thinking about nodding toward the Old Weird America has to do so in his shadow. That said, his legacy will always be more vital than his current output: the zydeco-meets-Chess endurance test that is his most recent, Together Through Life (Columbia), will probably never rate on most Zimmophiles’ top 30 or 40 favorite Dylan discs. Doesn’t matter though: whether you’re an oddball eccentric like Chan “Cat Power” Marshall and Will “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy” Oldham or a Muscle Shoals traditionalist like Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell, trying to elude categorization with an unexpected zig or zag just further classifies you as Dylan-esque. When it comes to mixing profundity and inscrutability, the Bard of Hibbing will always have everyone beat.
3_Bonnie "Prince" Billy