Being the relative of a famous musician can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you decide to look at the situation. On one hand you could invision being given a free pass through the world, being able to pursue any dreams that you have, and (if your dreams happen to be that of a musician
) to know that people will listen to your album simply because of your last name. But ironically the fact that people listen to your album only because of your last name might be discouraging. You may feel that no matter what you do you cannot escape the shadow that your famous relative casts over you. Though it may be hard to sympathize with celebrity-relatives, (especially with some of the talentless people who recieve press, and attention only because of their family name
) some of these people have to endure constant comparison to their famous relative, and sometimes even having their own works overlooked because of those comparisons. But sometimes when one is able to overcome the odds placed against them, and free themselves from any expectations. They are able to break-free from the shadow, and shine on their own.
Jakob Dylan, son of Bob Dylan, and lead singer/songwriter of The Wallflowers is a prime example of someone who was able to overcome to odds and shine on their own. Although on The Wallflowers self-titled debut album Jakob managed to do everything that would cause comparisons to Bob, he was able to turn it all around with The Wallflowers second album "Bringing Down The Horse." Although Jakobs voice often sounds eerily like Bob and you can often hear Bob's influnce in Jakobs lyrics, the songs themselves recall thoughts of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. The Counting Crows who's lead singer Adam Duritz makes an appearance on the track Sixth Avenue Heartache also appear to be an influence on the band.
The album starts on a great note with One Headlight
a hauntingly beautiful song complete with a catchy sing-a-long chorus. Jakob proves that he is the proper heir to his fathers throne throwing out lines like "It feels like independence day, and I can't break away from this parade," "This place is old it feels like a beat up truck, I turn the engine but the engine doesn't turn."
And of course the catchy yet though-provoking chorus "Come on try a little, nothing is forever, there's got to be something better than in the middle, me and cinderella we brought it all together, and we can drive it home, with one headlight."
The next track shows no signs of a dip in quality as we get to Sixth Avenue Heartache,
continuing in the vein of "One Headlight" the song provides thought-provoking lyrics over a catchy melody making for a great song. Fellow alternative-rocker the Counting Crows' Adam Duritz can be heard on backing vocals throughout the chorus' and during some of the ending verses. Durtiz's fits nicely within the song, and makes for a great touch. The album continues on in the same fashion with Bleeders,
and the incredible single Three Marlenas.
Before the tempo is increased on the straight up alternative-rocker The Difference,
the main focus is still Jakob's singing and lyrics but this time it is backed by a catchy distorted rhythm guitar. It contains some points of lyrical genius such as Sometimes old men die with little boy faces,
and once again Jakob delivers an instant sing-a-long chorus wailing out th paradoxical line The only difference, that I see, is you are exactly the same as I you used to be. Invisible City,
slows things back down but only for a minute before Laughing Out Loud
another upbeat track reminiscent to the Difference brings us back into the rocking mood. Joesephine, God Don't Make Lonely Girls, Angel On My Bike, and I Wish I Felt Nothing
bring the album to a glorious end. All the song's continue the trend of poetic lyrics, accompanied by a sing-a-long melody.
With Bringing Down The Horse Jakob was able to intergrate his fathers influence into his others influences, and then modernize the sound with strong melodies, and catchy hooks. But what really sets this album apart from Jakob's contemparies is that he is able to provide us with some incredible lyrics to go along with the hooks, and melodies. Which is a lot harder than it may seem.
One Headlight - 5/5
Sixth Avenue Heartache - 5/5
Bleeders - 5/5
Three Marlenas - 5/5
The Difference - 4.5/5
Invisible City - 4/5
Laughing Out Loud - 4.5/5
Josephine - 4.5/5
God Don't Make Lonely Girls - 4.5/5
Angel On My Bike - 4/5
I Wish I Felt Nothing - 5/5