Jakob Dylan, the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who founded The Wallflowers, is readying the release of his second solo album. "Women and Country," a 11-song set due Apr. 6 on Columbia Records, reunites Dylan with acclaimed producer T-Bone Burnett, who produced the Wallflowers' 1996 album "Bringing Down the Horse" and its hit single "One Headlight."
"Women and Country" also finds Dylan collaborating with breakout alt-country singers Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, who appear prominently on eight of the album's tracks. Case, a member of Canadian indie rock outfit The New Pornographers whose 2009 solo album "Middle Cyclone" debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, is nominated for two Grammy Awards this year.
Backing Dylan on the album is Burnett's celebrated group of session musicians -- including guitarist Marc Ribot, David Mansfield playing fiddle and mandolin, and in-demand keyboard whiz Keefus Ciancia -- who give the 11 songs the cohesion of a seasoned band.
"When I worked with T-Bone years ago, he didn't have this well-honed system in place," Dylan explained to Billboard.com. "Its fine and easy to get great musicians, but he's cultivated something truly special with that group of guys. I really wanted it to sound like a band throughout, and with them I didn't have to over-think things."
Dylan's first solo album, 2008's "Seeing Things," was a critically lauded collection of acoustic songs that showed a more introspective and intimate side of his songwriting than he had previously with the band. "Women and Country" continues in the same vein, but the rich harmonies with Case and Hogan, alongside Burnett's signature take on American roots music, find Dylan reaching a new level of clarity and intensity.
"I'm so happy to be collaborating with Jakob at this exciting and vital time in his life as an artist," Burnett said in a statement. "I think this new album is an important work from a great musician."
Case and Hogan, who toured together extensively last year behind "Cyclone," recorded their vocals during an intense two-day session in Los Angeles. Dylan and Case come close to a duet on the reflective ballad "Down On Our Shield" but the evocative harmonies of their three voices give "Women and Country" its chemistry. "Neko's a huge character," Dylan said. "She and Kelly add a huge personality to the record."
Dylan plans to tour with Case and Hogan this summer, along with several players from Case's backing band, and plans to incorporate songs from throughout his entire career. "I don't feel precious about that," he said, "as long as the songs sound good together."
Track Listing for Jakob Dylan's new album "Women and Country" is:
"Nothing But The Whole Wide World"
"Down On Our Shield"
"Lend A Hand"
"We Don't Live Here Anymore"
"Yonder Come the Blues"
"Holy Rollers for Love"
"Truth For A Truth"
"They've Trapped US Boys"
"Smile When You Call Me That"
"Standing Eight Count"