A lot of the buzz surrounding Jakob Dylan's current tour and new album, Women + Country, stems from the participation—on both—of alt-country sirens Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. There's certainly something to be said for the novelty of seeing and hearing the younger Dylan (as some of us still think of him) on stage with Case, in particular. But the women's role on the record is strictly as background singers, pleasant enough in itself but actually rather subdued and hardly earthshaking. A far more definitive presence is that of producer T Bone Burnett, who gives W+C a weathered, Americana roots feel, specks of grit seemingly caught on the wind along with a haunted essence echoed in songs like "We Don't Live Here Anymore." Also significantly adding to the seductively muted ambience is a superb band consisting of such frequent Burnett collaborators as guitarists Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz and drummer Jay Bellerose. There's also a blistering horn section that gives "Lend a Hand" a dirty, back-of-town vibe and contributes to the sense that "Standing Eight Count" is a lost track from the Band. Dylan's lyrics, meanwhile, probe the shadowy peripheries of love, death, truth, and survival, offering the mature perspective of someone staring into that relentless wind.
Tue., April 27, 7:30 p.m., 2010