THE NEW BASEMENT TAPES – Marcus Mumford, Jim James, Elvis Costello, Johnny Depp & More Bring Bob Dylan’s Lost Lyrics to Life At Their First And Perhaps Only Concert!
Posted On 18 Nov 2014
Tag: Bob Dylan, Capitol Music Group, CAPITOL Records, Capitol Studios, Carol Cohen, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Concert Review, Dawes, Diamond Ring, Documentary, Down On The Bottom, Electromagnetic Recordings, Elvis Costello, Harvest Records, Hidee Hidee Ho #16, Hollywood, Jakob Dylan, Jim James, Johnny Depp, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued, Marcus Mumford, Michael Sheehan, Montalban Theater, Mumford And Sons, My Morning Jacket, Nicole DeRosa, Oscar winning producer, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Jones, Sarah Silverman, Showtime, Steve Barnett, T-Bone Burnett, Taylor Goldsmith, The New Basement Tapes
It was one of those weeks of having been up all night…not enough sleep, it’s pouring rain out, but I MUST GO and not miss this ONCE IN A LIFETIME concerts kinda nights. I knew I would be royally kicking myself if I didn’t get to this show and man o’ man, am I glad I did!
What concert of epic proportions am I speaking of? Well, to those not so much in the know, it was to see The New Basement Tapes which is comprised of five of today’s most acclaimed artists – Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) as they perform the music they created (along with acclaimed Oscar®-winning producer T Bone Burnett) for the two-dozen recently discovered lyrics written by a one Mr. Bob Dylan.
I made my way over to the Montalban Theater in Hollywood, a tiny gem of a theater, which is now going on it’s 87th year of existence. It was the perfect intimate vintage venue for this star powered line up of musicians. Twenty songs were performed over the course of an hour and 45 minutes ranging in styles from late ’70s British punk to Appalachian mountain music to contemporary folk-rock.
The story goes that about a year or so ago, Dylan handed T Bone Burnett a collection of his lyrics circa the Basement Tapes era, from which Burnett and his friends produced 44 songs that were recorded in 12 days up the street from the Montalban Theater at Capitol Studios. Marcus Mumford noted on stage that they “spent a single day learning the songs for the concert.” Basically this super group pretty much randomly decided to play a show in L.A. and gave themselves about a day to rehearse.
As on the album, the fierce and ferociously talented, Jim James (My Morning Jacket) opened the evening with “Down on the Bottom.” It was then a revolving line up as each member of the band took turns singing and playing a variety of different instruments. Elvis Costello offered up his usual cool British New Wave style to the song, “Married To My Hack,” “Lost on the River,” and “Down on the Bottom.” A complete surprise to me (as I was fully focused on Jim James) was when Jack Sparrow aka, actor, musician, artiste, Johnny Depp made his way on the stage to play along to three songs.
Another highlight was when Marcus Mumford brought out the Haim sisters to sing back up on “The Whistle is Blowing,” as well as for the song, “Kansas City” and with whom J. Depp added to the magic as he accompanied them on guitar.
I must say though, if I had to pick a favorite of the night it would be the song Mumford so beautifully enhanced called, “When I Get My Hands On You,” with the recurring line,
“Now you know/Everywhere on earth you go/You’re gonna have me as your man.”
It was a straight forward expression of love like I’d never heard before.
I was completely won over and became a new fan of the lovely Rhiannon Giddens that night as well. Ms. Giddens alternated between fiddle and banjo throughout the night. And my goodness! That woman has got a beautiful set of pipes! Giddens and friends really brought it home with what she dubbed, “a psychedelic hoedown” on the pre-encore, “Duncan and Jimmy,” which was one of the coolest jams I’ve ever witnessed by such talented folks.
I feel beyond lucky to have been invited to and part of this once in a lifetime experience because try as managers and agents might, who knows when these artists stars (or schedules) will ever align for them to all perform together again? All I could think throughout the night as it got better and better, was that I was witnessing history in the making.
Fear not though, if you were not lucky enough to attend this performance, Showtime will be premiering four official music videos for songs, “Kansas City, “Down On The Bottom,” “Diamond Ring,” and “Hidee Hidee Ho #16” from the original documentary LOST SONGS: THE BASEMENT CONTINUED seen below.
The documentary will debut on SHOWTIME on Friday, November 21st at 9 p.m. ET/PT and encore on SHOWTIME 2 on Tuesday, November 25th at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The documentary coincides with the release of the T Bone Burnett-produced studio album Lost On the River: The New Basement Tapes by Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records on November 10th.
A rare look inside the creative process of recording an album and the discovery of long-lost Dylan lyrics, LOST SONGS: THE BASEMENT TAPES CONTINUED captures this unprecedented musical collaboration between these musicians and 13-time Grammy winner Burnett, as they record these newly completed compositions in Hollywood’s famed Capitol Studios. Jones, who directs the film, weaves these studio sessions into a broader narrative that incorporates the stories behind the original Basement Tapes, expounding on their cultural significance and charting their enduring influence.