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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Jakob Dylan: A Modest but Agreeable Talent

April 03, 1993|JEAN ROSENBLUTH

For three decades, promising young singer-songwriters have tried to shake the mantle of "the next Dylan" before the weight of the honor and the expectations it brings with it stopped them in their tracks. Jakob Dylan, the youngest son of Bob Dylan, might do well to cloak himself in his father's legend, however, since his modest (albeit generally agreeable) talent is unlikely to take him far on its own.

At the Troubadour on Thursday, Dylan's band, the Wallflowers, played a casual 90-minute set thick with padding, including no fewer than six versions of other acts' songs and a number of lengthy instrumentals. The latter may have been a sign of songwriting failings but they were genuinely enjoyable, for the Wallflowers make up in technical proficiency what they lack in creativity.

The Wallflowers have quite a bit interesting to say with their lyrics, but the music itself has a heard-it-all-before sound that quickly grows wearying. Maybe the answer for the band is to recruit another composer. Dylan's presence would still attract attention, and better songs might keep it.

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