Recording is nearing completion for Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, an album of songs based on lyrics that Bob Dylan wrote in 1967 during the time he recorded the original “Basement Tapes” with the future members of The Band, according to a press release from Big Hassle Media.
“These are not B-level Dylan lyrics,” T Bone Burnett, who is producing the album, told The Los Angeles Times Monday. “They’re lyrics he just never got around to finishing.”
Artists involved in the new album are Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) and Burnett.
The album is being recorded at Capitol Studios. The musicians have had to write new music to go with the two-dozen lyrics that Dylan wrote.
As of Monday Burnett told the Times that they’d cut 48 tracks including the title song, “Lost On the River,” “Florida Key,” “Card Shark” and “Hi-De-Ho.”
Burnett said he and Costello are going for the magic of the original “Basement Tapes” sessions, which took place in a house in upstate New York, in terms of its creative process.
According to the L. A. Times:
One intriguing facet of the current project is the collaboration among the participants. Each has come up with his or her own music for many of the lyrics, resulting in multiple versions of the same songs and allowing a perspective on the ways different artists respond to Dylan’s lyrics. Each artist takes the lead on the tracking of his or her song, and all provide suggestions and whatever instrumental and vocal support the others require, with Burnett overseeing final production.
“It runs the gamut from everybody having a blast in the studio to being really serious about doing things right,” Giddens told the Times.
Dylan gave Burnett, who was part of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review back in 1975, his blessing to make an album with the lyrics. “Great music is best created when a community of artists gets together for the common good,” Burnett said in the press release. “There is a deep well of generosity and support in the room at all times, and that reflects the tremendous generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us.”
There will be a Showtime documentary titled, “Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued,” directed by Sam Jones (the Wilco documentary, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”). The film will focus on the making of Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes and provide context regarding the original “Basement Tapes.”
“The discovery of these previously unknown Bob Dylan songs that were thought lost since 1967 is the stuff of Hollywood fiction and a find of truly historical proportions,” Jones said in the press release. “It is a unique opportunity to film T Bone and these great artists as they collaborate with a young Bob Dylan, and each other, to create new songs and recordings. These days and nights in the studio have been nothing less than magical.”
“Lost On the River,” interestingly enough, is the title of a Hank Williams song.
Dylan, of course, has long been a huge Hank Williams fan.
– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –