Bob Dylan’s Engineer Says ‘People Broke Down Crying’ When They Listened to His New Album
We already knew 'Shadows in the Night,' Bob Dylan's upcoming album of Frank Sinatra covers, represented something different for him -- but Al Schmitt, who engineered the project, insists it's a truly special project in more ways than one.
"People broke down crying, listening to the record," Schmitt recalled during a recent interview. "It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard Dylan do."
Saying Dylan "picked some obscure songs that are great songs" for the album, Schmitt shared his memories of their first day working together in Capitol's historic Studio B, describing sessions that hearkened back to the era in which the songs were originally recorded -- with one or two of Dylan's idiosyncrasies thrown in for good measure.
"He came in to the room, and he started looking around and talking," said Schmitt. "He liked the acoustics. He said, ‘Boy, this one sounds really nice. Where would I be singing?’ I said, ‘Right where you’re standing.’ So, that’s where the mic went, the vocal mic. And then it was his band. We had an acoustic guitar, an upright bass, light brushes on the drums, an electric guitar and a steel guitar. No headphones, everybody around him. When he couldn’t hear enough of the rhythm guitar, we just moved him closer. Everything was live. … There was no tuning, and there was no fixing. Everything was what it was. That’s part of the charm of the record."
Schmitt says they cut 23 tracks, 10 of which were ultimately tabbed for the final track list, and adds that after listening to the end result, Dylan told him, "I never heard my voice sound this good before." Fans will be able to judge for themselves on Feb. 3, when 'Shadows in the Night' is scheduled to arrive in stores.
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