Rick Rubin pares down Jakob Dylan’s sound to acoustic guitar and voice, adding drums and bass here and there to create an intimate setting for the Wallflowers’ leader’s first solo album. It has the warmth of a friend – a really talented friend – singing and playing on a couch in the living room; the songs have the feel of a man reflecting on the chores that have worn him down and his hope for an improved tomorrow.
Tone of the disc recalls two distinguished Columbia release from the ’80s, James McMurtry’s “Too Long in the Wasteland” and Elvis Costello’s “King of America.” Like those records, most of the songs are executed at an easy-going meter and featured nicely crafted turns of phrase. Unlike the ’80s albums this one’s a quickie: 10 songs in 37 minutes.
Highlights include the McMurtryish “Evil is Alive and Well”; the tunes told from a rural perspective (“Will It Grow,” “I Told You I Couldn’t Stop”) and the pure and hopeful “Something Good This Way Comes,” which spells out an interesting ideal about the good life — a clear mind, a good woman by his side, daylight, birds singing and apple pie on the stove. “Something Good” is the catchiest of the tracks, more suited for a soundtrack than radio.