Sound — 8
When I heard Nashville Skyline's first track (a moving ballad with the late, great Johnny Cash), I couldn't believe my ears. Dylan sounded completely different. He went from the "stereotypical Dylan voice" to a country-esque croon. At first, I was astounded and disgusted. I only have a few of his records (The Times They Are a-Changin', Blood On the Tracks, Highway 61 Revisited) and I was sure none of them sounded like this. But after several listens, I realized that it was the same old Dylan. Same great music. Same great lyrics. Just a different vocal technique. Another thing that caught me off-guard was the pedal steel. The instrument is featured in nearly every song. This seemed to reinforce the notion that Dylan was trying to make a name for himself as a country musician. The sound is not as varied as "Highway 61 Revisited", but it is still nice to listen to.
Lyrics — 9
While this isn't Blood On The Tracks, it still has some very powerful and moving lyrics. "Girl From North Country" (the first track on the album) is a story about one of Dylan's old friends. The song features the commanding vocals of Johnny Cash as well, making the experience twice as sweet. From the stirring "Lay Lady Lay" to the cheerful "Country Pie", Bob cranks out some terrific lyrics to go with his unique "new voice".
Overall Impression — 9
While it may not be one of the longest, most thought-provoking album by Bob Dylan, it is a great album and any Dylan fan should pick it up. Despite it's brevity (only 10 songs and most are 2:00+/-), most of the compositions are fantastic. The only thing that might be a turn-off to new fans is his new vocal technique. It took me a while to look past it. If I lost this CD, I would most definetly buy it again.