When the Wallflowers first came out, I didn’t particularly like them. Girls I knew in high school fawned over Jakob Dylan’s dreamy eyes and they were everywhere. My dislike for them, had absolutely nothing to do with Jakob’s dad. In fact, I did not get into The Great Bob (as I sometimes refer to him) until some years later. In retrospect, I actually think Bringing Down the Horse is a pretty good album – with one absolute masterpiece – “6th Avenue Heartache”. When I went to New York last summer, I became obsessed with that song. I noticed that it’s probably the closest thing he wrote in his mid 20’s to the career he has now. It’s a country-folk song disguised as pop-rock song about New York – more akin to his father’s writing style than he probably realized (or wanted to acknowledge at the time).
It’s no secret Jakob Dylan has been trying to forge his own career out of the lime-light of his father and has cited both Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello (two other major musical heroes of mine) as a major influence. When he released his solo album Seeing Things – it was a departure from the Wallflowers brand of straight ahead rock. It was a mix of Springsteen’s Nebraska and Elvis Costello’s King of America, and even his father’s own John Wesley Harding – yet it was his own. It seemed that Jakob Dylan was finally creating a career for himself that would stand the test of time.
And now he’s fully embraced the alt-country outfit he’s created for himself with his new album Women & Country. If he couldn’t be validated enough – he’s got the queen of alt-country – Neko Case – singing on over half the album. It’s not that he necessarily needs Case’s star power at this point his career- he’s probably sold more albums than her. But by adding Neko Case to the fold, no one can deny that Jakob Dylan is a great songwriter, and perhaps one day that will add him along with names of his heroes. Even now, he is no longer an asterisk attached to Bob Dylan.