What do you get when you combine Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens, and Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith? The answer is a jam session of epic proportions.

Lucky for you, it has been recorded and released. Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes has arrived, and with this melodic Pandora’s box comes the chance to make Dylan lovers out of first time listeners. Performed by artists like the front man of Mumford & Sons and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan’s iconic body of work can cross generations in the way it deserves.

Dylan fans are familiar with his legendary Basement Tapes, a compilation of covers, spontaneous performances, comical ditties, and Dylan originals that Bob recorded during his sojourn from the public eye after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1966. Holed up in a literal basement with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Levon Helm, the Band could not escape the public ear and created over a hundred tracks during the course of several months. It was not until 1975 that Columbia Records released only 16 of those recordings to the public on an actual album. It was not until about three weeks ago that Columbia Records released The Basement Tapes in their entirety.

Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes includes 20 tracks on the deluxe edition. The album’s simultaneous collaborators and creators stopped by The Spectrum to discuss paying homage to music pioneer Bob Dylan and his influence on their own music making.

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons is no stranger to the killer folksy rock combo that made Dylan thrive as a performer. Mumford discussed his discovery of Dylan’s music as a delightful genre smorgasbord.

“I started off with Blood On the Tracks ’cause my mum had it on vinyl,” Mumford said. “And then I kind of discovered the earlier stuff when I was maybe 16, 17. And then I kind of delved my way into that and came back to the band era records, so I flip flopped a lot. And that’s what’s so cool about his records and about his career is that you can dive into any era and be fulfilled [with] whatever kind of music you’re into at the time, really.”

Rhiannon Giddens was not as familiar with Dylan prior to taking on this project. As a result, she found recording his works with her own voice beneficial to her own development as an artist.

“There’s such a wealth of material,” Giddens said. “One of the wonderful things about this project is that it’s kind of expanded my horizons in terms of what songwriting can be … You can still do a traditional tune on electric instruments, and you can do a modern tune on acoustic instruments. It doesn’t really matter what the tool is because it’s just a tool … It’s really about the relationship between you and the song and then the listener and the song.”

Dawes’ Tyler Goldsmith was candid about his Bob Dylan obsession.

“I always feel like I have two cycles of bands I’m listening to. Like, what band I’m into and then what Dylan record I’m into,” Goldsmith said. “The first Dylan record for me was Highway 61. I feel like I had heard all this rock and roll, and I thought I understood what rock and roll really was, and then I think it took that record to really show me what it means to have a rock and roll band.”

Jim James of My Morning Jacket attributed his admiration for Bob Dylan to a past romantic relationship. He even went so far as to compare Bobby to Billy – Shakespeare, that is!

“I remember having a girlfriend – she really liked Bob … She got the Live at Royal Albert Hall bootleg series 1966, and that was a real deal changer for me,” James said. “I had heard those other records in passing on car trips and stuff … But those versions on that disc just blew my mind to pieces, and that really opened the doorway and the gateway for eventually falling in love with his entire catalog. I think the catalog that he’s created is kind of like Shakespeare … it’s like air and water and food. You almost can’t live without it.”

And of course, Elvis Costello is a music making legend in his own right. He too got the Bob Dylan bug – after trying to impress a girl, no less.

“I had a girlfriend whose best friend was one of those dramatic girls who liked to kind of cry a lot listening to Cat Stevens records, and she used to have a copy of Blonde on Blonde,” Costello said. “I think she actually never listened to it. She just liked to hold it because it looked good. And then I got curious because I think I secretly had desires on her, and I wanted to find out what that record sounded like.”

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