Columbia RecordsOn Tuesday, Bob Dylan released his latest studio album, Shadows in the Dark, a collection of standards that previously were recorded by Frank Sinatra. Dylan joins a growing list of veteran rock and pop artists who have wrapped their voices around selections from the Great American Songbook, including Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney and Linda Ronstadt.

While Stewart has been particularly successful revisiting memorable songs of yesteryear, releasing several platinum-selling collections of standards, Dylan says he’s not a fan of the British singer’s musical forays into the past.

“I was looking forward to hearing Rod’s records of standards. I thought if anybody could bring something different to these songs, Rod certainly could,” Bob explained in his interview with AARP The Magazine, the full text of which was recently posted online. “But the records were disappointing. Rod’s a great singer. He’s got a great voice, but there’s no point to put a 30-piece orchestra behind him.”

Dylan added, “I’m not going to knock anybody’s right to make a living but you can always tell if somebody’s heart and soul is into something, and I didn’t think Rod was into it in that way.”

One of the issues the folk-rock legend said he had with Stewart’s renditions of standards was that he felt they sounded “like so many records where the vocals are overdubbed,” noting that “these kind of songs don’t come off well if you use modern recording techniques.”

Bob explained that he went for a different approach in recording Shadows in the Night, staying away from lush strings and instead arranging the songs for a stripped-down five-piece band.

“A producer would have come in and said, ‘Let’s put strings here and a horn section there.’ But I wasn’t going to do that,” he pointed out. “I wasn’t even going to use keyboards or a grand piano. The piano covers too much territory and can dominate songs like this in ways you don’t want them to.”

Another thing Dylan says he made sure to do in putting the album together was to chose tunes with lyrics with which he had an emotional connection.

“With all these songs you have to study the lyrics,” he explained to AARP. “You have to look at every one of these songs and be able to identify with them in a meaningful way. You can hardly sing these songs unless you’re in them. If you want to fake it, go ahead. Fake it if you want. But I’m not that kind of singer.”

Shadows in the Night is available now on CD, vinyl and as a digital download. Among the album’s 10 tracks are classics like “Autumn Leaves,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and “What’ll I Do.”

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