Jakob Dylan: Evolution of a Songwriter

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From 'All Songs Considered'

From 'Rebel, Sweetheart'

Hear selections from the new Wallflowers CD.

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Early Days

Jakob Dylan discusses an early Wallflowers hit, "6th Avenue Heartache":

"I figured how to write songs on that song. I knew when I started writing songs that it was something I really wanted to do, and I had an instinct for it. But I put it off for a long time because I was horrified of being terrible. But then I realized there's no way to get anywhere — have any voice — if you don't just start."

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In his early days as a songwriter, Jakob Dylan found himself in the awkward position of holding back, revealing as little as possible about his personal life. He knew voyeuristic fans would be looking for details about his famous father, Bob Dylan, in the lyrics.

Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers

Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers have been around since 1990. Chapman Baehler hide caption

itoggle caption Chapman Baehler

"I was aware of the freak show aspect of it," he tells Melissa Block. "To some degree, I walked a fine line of trying to make these songs interesting, at least to myself, but at the same time not interesting to others..."

Dylan and The Wallflowers are releasing their fifth CD, Rebel, Sweetheart. These days his songwriting is inspired by things he reads — for example, the works of W.H. Auden: "A really good writer like that, there's a language... their poems have an identity to them." Dylan says the new album comprises "a palette of words that had its own identity."

One song, "God Says Nothing Back," touches on four themes: God, time, love and death.

I'm calling out from the deep ends of my bones / Time says nothing back but I told you so / I told you so

"One way or another… every question seems to go back to one of those topics," Dylan says.

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Rebel, Sweetheart

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