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Jakob Dylan: Evolution of a Songwriter

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.

"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.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.