Dylan, singing Sinatra? The idea is ridiculous – but the reality is gorgeous, heartbreaking and wonderful. Where Sinatra’s voice is silky smooth, charming and perfect, Dylan’s is like rusty nails, like suffering given a sound. Even the young Dylan had an old voice; now he sounds like the wisest of grandfathers. Critics have thought in recent years that his voice was damaged beyond repair, reduced to an out of tune growl. Yet in this collection has astounded everyone with his delicate-still growly- crooning.
Where Sinatra was backed by swelling violins, perfectly muted brass section and tasteful drum-kit, Dylan strips this all back to a five piece band. In his own words this is not a “cover” but rather an “uncovering.” And indeed, these do not feel like covers. Dylan truly inhabits the songs, making them so present and so raw you want to curl up inside them and have your heart break along with him.
Sinatra’s songs are perfect, but Dylan makes them sound real. There is a sense of Dylan as a well loved grandfather, looking back over his life. The young Dylan we all remember is still there, amongst the echoes of youth and lost love that reverberate amongst this misty, nostalgic collection. I challenge you to listen to this without crying.