Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

SINATRA DYLAN and Those Depressing Songs

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

SINATRA DYLAN and Those Depressing Songs

Article excerpt

Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 this year and the calendar is peppered with centennial celebrations, including a couple local ones. Most people these days tend to picture the Chairman of the Board as the singer heard on breezy, spotlessly sung albums such as "Nice 'N' Easy," "Strangers in the Night" and the vibrant, often hilarious, classic live album "Sinatra at The Sands." Of course, others are drawn to the sullen Sinatra. At least one major entertainer of today, it seems, is obsessed with Sinatra's saddest of saloon songs.

While music critics have piled praise on Bob Dylan's new album "Shadows in the Night," a collection of standards recorded by Sinatra, the vast majority of those numbers will not be heard Saturday during the "The Sinatra Centennial starring Michael Feinstein" at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Also, don't expect to hear many, if any, "Shadows in the Night" tracks at the "Sinatra Centennial Celebration with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra" on Tuesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.

The reasons are simple. The songs are not known by the average Sinatra enthusiast. Moreover, Dylan chose to record some of the most downright depressing songs ever associated with Sinatra.

Critics have lauded Dylan, who also produced "Shadows in the Night," for recording the songs in a stripped-down manner featuring just his five-piece touring band augmented by several horn players offering subtle coloring. It is a distinctive, mostly successful rendering. Dylan's vocals, although craggy beyond the tolerance of many, imbue the lyrics with a sensitivity that reinforces the argument that his skill as an interpreter is as great as his celebrated songwriting.

"Shadows in the Night" is also the result of a winning pairing of songs and singer, one who has spent plenty of time with the material. After all, it is an album Dylan has been preparing for since at least the 1980s when he recorded (but never released) "This Was My Love" and performed the song in concert. "This Was My Love" is most famously found today on the current version of Sinatra's 1959 album "No One Cares." "Shadows in the Night" also includes Dylan's renditions of the "No One Cares" cut "Why Try to Change Me Now? …

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