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One of the most buzzed about musical projects of the year is The New Basement Tapes. It’s a collaboration between Marcus Mumford (of Mumford and Sons), Rhiannon Giddens (of The Carolina Chocolate Drops), Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Taylor Goldsmith (of Dawes) and Elvis Costello (of Elvis Costello).
That all-star lineup in and of itself is awesome enough. But that’s not even the coolest part.
What makes The New Basement Tapes special is these artist have come together to record a set of newly discovered lyrics written by none other than Bob Dylan.
The Dylan lyrics are from his legendary “Basement Tapes” sessions where he holed up with The Band in a big pink house in Woodstock, NY after a brutal motorcycle accident. There Dylan and The Band cut loose on a freewheeling writing and recording session which produced some of their best work.
In the midst of their time in the basement Dylan wrote hundreds of songs, many of which he never recorded for one reason or another. The lyrics were tossed in a box and tossed aside for 40 years.
Earlier this year producer T-Bone Burnett unearthed the lyrics. When he found them, he came up with the idea of using a modern all star lineup to take these never-produced Dylan lyrics and create the music for them.
Some of the most creative minds of this generation interpreting lost lyrics from the greatest musical poet of all time? Sign me up.
The album, “Lost On The River”, is a fascinating listen. While the framework of each song comes from the brilliant mind of one man, the diverse and distinct musical personalities of the modern artists add a different flavor to each song. The artists take turns writing the music, singing vocals, and switching instruments throughout the record.
The New Basement Tapes remind me of the situation we face everyday.
We have been gifted with an incredible text from the Master Author. Through letters and visions and historical accounts we have the greatest story ever told available to us in every form and language and translation imaginable.
The words are the same for each of us. But we are blessed with the freedom to interpret them our own unique ways.
God doesn’t tell us how to play the song. He gives us the words to live by. Then He leaves it up to us to interpret.
There are verses in the Bible which are crystal clear. Then there are others where two different Christians can read them and find two different ways to live them out, neither one of them wrong nor right.
How will you interpret the lyrics given to you today? You don’t have to make it sound like anyone else’s. That’s the incredible freedom given by God.
Lyrics locked away in a box are worthless. So don’t be afraid of them just because you don’t know the exact way to interpret them.
Start playing the music the words inspire in you. Stay close to the tune but try new things.
The Author wrote the lyrics with your voice in mind. He leaves the music up to you. Your song doesn’t have to sound like anyone else’s. Just start singing with all of your heart.
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