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Paige Davis, "Trading Spaces" together again in 2018

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2017

 

The announcement:

TLC announced today that Paige Davis, beloved host of original home design series TRADING SPACES will return for the brand-new season slated to air in 2018. Additionally, casting of homeowners has begun in the first three cities of Los Angeles, Atlanta and Baltimore.

Davis served as host of TRADING SPACES for several seasons, guiding homeowners and designers through their makeover journeys and is thrilled to be back on the job. For homeowners willing to swap keys with their neighbors and redecorate a room in each other’s home, please go to http://www.tlc.com/casting and sign up for the opportunity to appear on the brand-new season of TRADING SPACES.

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #TradingSpaces, ‘Like’ the Trading Spaces Facebook page, and watch more video on TLC.com/TradingSpaces.

TRADING SPACES is produced by Endemol Shine North America subsidiary Authentic Entertainment and is based on Endemol Shine UK format 'Changing Rooms’, which was a top rated hit for the BBC for almost a decade achieving up to 12 million viewers and sold to 12 territories internationally.


ABOUT TLC
Offering remarkable real-life stories without judgment, TLC shares everyday heart, humor, hope, and human connection with programming genres that include fascinating families, heartwarming transformations, and life’s milestone moments. In 2017 to-date, TLC ranks as the #6 ad-supported cable network in Prime among W25-54.

TLC is a global brand available in more than 89 million homes in the US and 325 million households around the world. Viewers can enjoy their favorite shows anytime, anywhere through TLC GO – the network’s TVE offering featuring live and on demand access to complete seasons. A destination online, TLC.com offers in-depth fan sites and exclusive original video content. Fans can also interact with TLC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. TLC is part of Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers in 220 countries and territories to satisfy curiosity and captivate superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, lifestyle, sports and kids content brands.

ABOUT DAVIS
Since Davis’ time at TLC, she has co-hosted HOME AND FAMILY for the Hallmark Channel and was the host of OWN’s HOME MADE SIMPLE, for which she was nominated for a 2013 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Host in a Lifestyle/Travel Program. She has spent much of her time focused on her true love, theatre and dance. Most recently, Paige gave a triumphant return to her role as Roxie Hart in CHICAGO on Broadway. A recent theater experience had her playing God in AN ACT OF GOD directed by Marsha Mason, making Paige the first woman to play the role following in the footsteps of Jim Parsons and Sean Hayes. Additionally, she received rave reviews for her performance in the Broadway revival of BOEING BOEING. She traveled the country performing the title role of SWEET CHARITY in the show’s Broadway tour. Paige also played Babette in the first national tour of Broadway’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, where she met her husband Patrick Page. She has performed numerous leading roles in regional theaters across the country, and has even toured as a dancer with The Beach Boys.

Paige has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show, The Today Show, The View, The Dr. Phil Show, The Wayne Brady Show, The Martha Stewart Show, and many others. Daytime viewers remember when Oprah turned the tables on Paige, giving designer Nate Berkus free-reign to renovate and redecorate Paige’s Manhattan apartment.

A graduate of the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, Paige lives in Manhattan with her husband and their adorable Maltese, Georgie. 

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What's next for "Game of Thrones" showrunners? This

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2017

The official word:

“Game of Thrones” creators/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will return to HBO with their new original series CONFEDERATE, it was announced today by Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming.

          CONFEDERATE chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.

          “As the brilliant ‘Game of Thrones’ winds down to its final season, we are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Dan and David, knowing that any subject they take on will result in a unique and ambitious series,” said Bloys. “Their intelligent, wry and visually stunning approach to storytelling has a way of engaging an audience and taking them on an unforgettable journey. CONFEDERATE promises to be no exception, and we are honored to be adding the talented team of Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman to the mix.”

          “We have discussed CONFEDERATE for years, originally as a concept for a feature film,” add Benioff and Weiss. “But our experience on ‘Thrones’ has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO. There won’t be dragons or White Walkers in this series, but we are creating a world, and we couldn’t imagine better partners in world-building than Nichelle and Malcolm, who have impressed us for a long time with their wit, their imagination and their Scrabble-playing skills.”

          CONFEDERATE will be written and created by Benioff and Weiss, who will also serve as showrunners on the series. Partnering with them as executive producers and writers on the series will be Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“Justified,” “The Good Wife”) and Malcolm Spellman (“Empire,” the forthcoming “Foxy Brown”). Carolyn Strauss (“Game of Thrones”) and Bernadette Caulfield (“Game of Thrones,” “Big Love”) will also join as executive producers.

          Production will begin following the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

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New "Hawaii Five-0" Cast

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2017

Following the unfortunate, contract-related departures of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park (and Masi Oka's leaving during the season, by the way, adding to the sense that the show wasn't committed to its Asian performers), the show has announced some new players. The official word follows:

Ian Anthony Dale, Meaghan Rath and Beulah Koale are set to join the cast of HAWAII FIVE-0, which begins its eighth season Friday, Sept. 29 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Dale has recurred on HAWAII FIVE-0 as Adam Noshimuri since season two, becoming a trusted confidant and resource for the team who will now be recruited by McGarrett to work for Five-0. This summer, Dale is starring in the suspense thriller SALVATION, on the Network.

Rath will play Tani Rey, who McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) recruits after finding her working as a lifeguard at a hotel pool after she was kicked out of the Police Academy, despite being a first-rate candidate. Rath is best known to television audiences for her starring roles in the series “Being Human” and “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life,” and for recurring in “Secrets and Lies” and “New Girl.”

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The 13th Doctor announced

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2017

The official word:

The BBC and BBC AMERICA today announced to the world that Jodie Whittaker will be the new Doctor Who. She will be the Thirteenth Time Lord and take over from Peter Capaldi who leaves the global hit show at Christmas.

New head writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall who takes over from Steven Moffat on the next series made the decision to cast the first ever woman in the iconic role.

Jodie Whittaker says: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey - with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

Chris Chibnall, New Head Writer and Executive Producer says: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”

Peter Capaldi says: “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”

Sarah Barnett, President of BBC AMERICA says: "The fact that there was so much interest in, quite literally, 'Who?' speaks volumes about the enduring power of the Doctor Who franchise around the world and for BBC AMERICA viewers. We couldn't be happier to welcome the remarkable Jodie Whittaker as a history making Thirteenth Doctor and look forward to the continuation of this story."

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content says: “Making history is what Doctor Who is all about and Chris Chibnall’s bold new take on the next Time Lord is exactly that. The nation is going to fall in love with Jodie Whittaker - and have lots of fun too!”

Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama says: "Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor."

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer says: "I'm so thrilled that Jodie Whittaker said yes to playing the Doctor. I've been a fan for years and always hoped to work with her. She is an actor of great emotional range and inhabits every role with complete passion and conviction. Just thinking about what she will bring to the Doctor makes me as excited as a kid at Christmas. It's going to be a lot of fun."

13 Need to know answers to questions about the new Doctor Who

1) What does it feel like to be the Thirteenth Doctor?

It’s very nerve-racking, as it’s been so secret!

2) Why did you want the role?

To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role.

3) Has it been hard to keep the secret?

Yes. Very hard! I’ve told a lot of lies! I’ve embroiled myself in a whole world of lies which is going to come back at me when this is announced!

4) Who was the first person you told when you got the role?

My husband. Because I was allowed to!

5) Did you have a codename and if so what was it?

In my home, and with my agent, it was The Clooney. Because to me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought: what’s a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting.

6) What does it feel like to be the first woman Doctor?

It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.

7) What do you want to tell the fans?

I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.

8) What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about becoming part of a family I didn’t even know existed. I was born in 1982, it’s been around longer than me, and it’s a family I couldn’t ever have dreamed I’d be part of.

9) How did Chris sell you the part?

We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch. And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie! And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney.

It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition. He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would’ve got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference!

10) Did he persuade you?

No. There was no persuasion needed. If you need to be persuaded to do this part, you’re not right for this part, and the part isn’t right for you. I also think, for anyone taking this on, you have to want to fight for it, which I certainly had to do. I know there will have been some phenomenal actors who threw their hats in the ring.

11) What are you going to wear?

Don’t know yet.

12) Is that your costume in the filmed sequence which introduced you as the new Doctor?

No.

13) Have any of the other Doctors given you advice?

Well they can’t because they haven’t known until now, but I’m certainly expecting a couple of calls – I’ve got a couple of mates in there. I’m mates with a companion [Arthur Darvill], I’m mates with a trio of Doctors. I know Matt Smith, Chris Eccleston and obviously David Tennant. Oh! And let’s throw in David Bradley! Four Doctors! So I’m hoping I get some calls of advice.


JODIE WHITTAKER BIOGRAPHY
Jodie Whittaker graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2005 with a gold medal in Acting. Since then she has worked continually in Film, Television and Theatre. Her TV credits include the critically acclaimed BBC AMERICA and ITV drama 'Broadchurch' (for which she was nominated for ‘Best Actress’ for the RTS Television Awards), Emmy award-winning 'Black Mirror’, Sky 1’s 'The Smoke', BBC’s 'Cranford’, in which she starred opposite Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton, 'The Night Watch'(BBC), 'The Accused'(BBC), and 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' (BBC).

Jodie has recently finished shooting 'Journeyman' written and directed by Paddy Considine as well as the lead in the new BBC drama series ‘Trust Me’. Her other film credits include 'Venus', (which earned her nominations for 'Best Newcomer' at the 'British Independent Film Awards', 'Best British Newcomer' at the 'Critic's Circle Awards' and 'Best Actress in a Motion Picture' at the 'Satellite Awards'), 'Attack the Block', 'One Day', 'Black Sea', 'Good Vibrations', 'St.Trinian's', 'Get Santa' and most recently 'Adult Life Skills' which she Executive Produced as well as starred in which received a number of BIFA nominations.

Jodie made her professional theatrical debut at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in ‘The Storm’. Other theatre credits include playing the title role in 'Antigone' at the Royal National Theatre, 'Bash' at the Trafalgar Studios 'Awake and Sing' and 'Enemies' at the Almeida, both directed by the then Artistic Director, Michael Attenborough. 

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Music To Sweat By: Treadmill Editions

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 6, 2017

Both the bride and I have been getting in more exercise, in the yard and on the treadmill. Here are a few lists I put together for brisk walking. Some are better than others, and I tend to skip among these and other things. But maybe they will give you some ideas.

1.Four Tops, “Are You Man Enough?”

Elvis Presley/Royal Philharmonic, “Burning Love”

Rascals, “People Got To Be Free”
En Vogue, “Free Your Mind”
Etta James, “The Blues Is My Business”
“Hamilton” original cast, “My Shot”
Howlin’ Wolf, “Built for Comfort”
Elvis Costello, “The Beat”
Parliament, “Flash Light (12-inch version)”
Flo Rida, “Club Can’t Handle Me”
Earth, Wind & Fire, “September”
Ray Charles, “Mess Around”
Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men”
U2, “Pride (In the Name of Love)”
Pat Benatar, “Love is a Battlefield”
OneRepublic, “Love Runs Out”
Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated”
Elvin Bishop, “Travelin’ Shoes”
Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

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Music To Sweat By

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 6, 2017

No, not an exercise playlist, although I have some of those and could post them. But this is one I used on vacation recently while sitting in the sun. Worked for me. 

Willie Nelson, “Fly Me to the Moon”
Sonny Charles/Checkmates, “Black Pearl”
Viscounts, “Harlem Nocturne”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”
Smokey Robinson/Miracles, “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage”
Santo & Johnny, “Sleep Walk”
Paris Sisters, “I Love How You Love Me”
Ben E. King, “Spanish Harlem”
Cookies, “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby”
She & Him, “This Girl’s in Love With You”
Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”
Donny Hathaway, “A Song for You”
Chaka Khan, “Have a Little Faith in Me”
Junior Walker/All-Stars, “What Does It Take”
Williams Brothers, “Love Doesn’t Ever Fail Us”
Jackson 5, “I’ll Be There”
Ivory Joe Hunter, “Since I Met You Baby”
Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong, “Summertime”
Getz/Gilberto, “The Girl From Ipanema”
Diana Krall, “Crazy”
Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love”
Jo Stafford, “You Belong to Me”
Willie Nelson, “Someone to Watch Over Me”
Whitney Houston, “Exhale”
Toni Braxton, “Let It Flow”
Seatrain, “Flute Thing”
Brother Jack McDuff, “The Shadow of Your Smile”
Kelly Clarkson, “Piece By Piece (Idol Version)”
Kristin Chenoweth, “You’ll Never Know”
Laura Lee, “Since I Fell For You”
Leonard Cohen, “Almost Like the Blues”
Marcus Roberts, “But Not for Me”
Marvin Gaye, “Distant Lover”
Milt Jackson, “Send in the Clowns”
Nat King Cole, “A Blossom Fell”
Norman Connors/Phyllis Hyman, “Betcha By Golly Wow”
War, “Summer”
Velvet Underground, “Oh! Sweet Nuthin”
Jive Five, “Hey Nineteen”
 

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"Baby Driver": Thrills and music

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 2, 2017

While you may have seen the rave reviews for "Baby Driver," let's not overstate. The plotting gets a little soggy in the middle. The ending is open to question. Some characters who should be dead many times over are kept around for the sake of a climax which could have come out of a Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” movie. It’s tempting at times to think of it as a “Fast and the Furious” with better actors – or as simply as more musical borrowing of ideas from Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Drive” and, more aptly, Walter Hill’s “The Driver.”
Only, even with those reservations, I absolutely loved “Baby Driver”: the marvelous soundtrack, the blending of music and choreographed movement, the car scenes that are so exciting that I thought I was being fed megadoses of caffeine. Writer-director Edgar Wright proved endearing in his collaborations with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; here he moves up to dazzling.
“Baby Driver” stars Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars,” “Divergent”) as Baby, the laconic driver of getaway cars for varying crews put together by Doc (Kevin Spacey). A childhood accident has left Baby with tinnitus which he covers up by listening to music, including when he drives. That he is a spectacular driver is swiftly demonstrated, but he is not enthusiastic; his drives are paying off a debt to Doc, and he plans to get out as soon as his last payment is made.
Need I tell you that getting out will be harder than he thinks? Sure, things are looking up when he meets a waitress (Lily James) who is first seen singing Carla Thomas’s “B-A-B-Y.” But he also has to contend with a robber with an especially lethal streak (Jamie Foxx), a psychotic couple (Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez) and whatever is really up with Doc. (The acting is uniformly excellent.)
This all makes “Baby Driver” sound more linear than it is, with Wright more than content to pause the action for a joyous scene of Baby dancing down the street to his music, or two characters getting excited about Queen, or a conversation between Baby and the waitress, Debora, about names in song titles,. (It’s testament again to the soundtrack that -- in addition to its ranging across decades of r&b, punk, jazz, major and minor pop and, yes, the song “Baby Driver” – it comes up with two songs for Debora. And uses one to illuminate part of Baby’s background.) When the broad strokes of the film are evident, the little touches are not; I was never entirely certain where the movie would go. It’s a fantasy, a thrilling action piece and still a character drama. Baby is, as his name implies, not fully formed; we watch the horrifying steps toward that final formation.
Besides, I was happy to sit back, let Wright drive and have him pick the songs for the ride.

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"Spider-Man: Homecoming" -- Ready To Make Nice

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 2, 2017
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“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a nice movie.

I don’t mean this to be dismissive, to suggest the latest iteration of the old webslinger is slight. But I do want to make clear that “Homecoming” is a departure from most recent superhero movies in that it eschews brooding, grimness and overall angst in favor of a straightforward, often humorous tale of an adolescent trying to figure out his place in the world. This Spidey, played by Tom Holland, was after all the humorous tonic in “Captain America: Civil War,” and this movie continues that idea; it is closer in tone to “Deadpool” (though far milder in content) or “Guardians of the Galaxy” (though without the goofiness and sorrow). As such, even with a plot twist that should surprise no one, it’s more than adequately entertaining. It’s a nice movie.

MORE: Spidey’s web of success sets stage for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

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Why "Wonder Woman" is the most important film this year

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2017

(Some small spoilers.) This is the real world: A strong-willed and direct Sen. Kamala Harris gets called “hysterical” for her questioning of Jeff Sessions. The highest-level woman in government, President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is often said to try to persuade her impulsive father – but that persuasion is neither public nor confrontational; she is a woman very much behind the man. In the eyes of the main figures in the majority party, women should have no control over their own bodies, and that same party believes the nation’s most renowned family-planning organization is an enemy of all that is good. Everyone remember “nevertheless, she persisted”? Or that Mike Pence is so afraid that every woman is Eve brandishing an apple that he cannot let himself eat alone with one? Unless, of course, that one is his wife, whom he reportedly calls “Mother”?
This all explains why “Wonder Woman” is the most important film of the year. It is offering to audiences an image of a strong, idealistic woman whose battle against evil instructs and guides men – and shows they have nothing to fear from Diana Prince – or, by extension, Kamala Harris and other real-life women. In fact, the movie argues, a strong woman can make the world – the whole world, mind you – better.
Plenty of people have been drawn to the film, a global hit and the first fully satisfying film in the DC Universe (which makes a significant rebound after the downhill path formed by “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman” and “Suicide Squad”). And I think a major reason is that, besides some thrilling stunts and a thoughtful story, it has a major message about powerful women. And it puts one in a superhero-movie field where woman have rarely taken center stage. (I enjoyed “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” but it was still basically another round of boys-on-the-loose, right down to tying our collective future to the relationship between a father and son.)
 The idea that strong women should be our focus is also evident in Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” currently the most popular movie of 2017 worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. (The much newer “Wonder Woman” is eighth on the global list and fifth in the U.S., where “Beauty” also tops the chart.) While “Beauty” is a romance rooted in the earlier animated version, it nonetheless offers a Belle who knows her own mind, and who must save the day at film’s end – interestingly, through the same emotion, love, which is central to the climax of “Wonder Woman.”
And if you doubt that this echoes in our everyday culture, take a look again at “Beauty” with the idea that the vain, deceitful Gaston is Donald Trump. And that Belle, in turn, is every woman who dared defy him.
Look, then, at “Wonder Woman” as a way to talk to its audience, especially the youngest members of it, about what women can do, and how often they are kept from doing it, and how wrong it is to hold them back and call them hysterical.
It is, after all, powerful men who often put the roadblocks in front of Diana, unable to see her value or her wisdom – and, in one key case, assuming a clever man can turn her away from all the lessons taught by the women in her life. Yes, Diana’s physical power comes from a male god; it is her own inner strength that carries the day.
Now, if we could just get Kamala Harris into a “Wonder Woman 2” …
 

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Loving the Onion: Recent Bob Dylan

By Rich Heldenfels Published: May 23, 2017

In his autobiography, “A Gift of Laughter,” the singing humorist Allan Sherman explained the arrangements of his songs this way:

“I sing like anyone singing in a bathtub – not good, but with genuine enthusiasm. … The music is never funny. So the effect is something like this: You’re looking into Tiffany’s most elegant show window, and in the window is a black velvet pillow, and right in the middle of the pillow is an onion. That’s me.”


But, I argue, you can still love the onion.
This has been on my mind since listening to “Triplicate,” Bob Dylan’s latest exploration of the great American songbook, following 2015’s “Shadows in the Night” and 2016’s “Fallen Angels” (and, with a bit of a stretch, 2009’s “Christmas in the Heart”). All find Dylan walking down some of the musical streets where Frank Sinatra once strode – as well as Ella Fitzgerald, legendary for her songbook collections, notably the one of Cole Porter tunes.
And, of course, you’re saying Dylan is no Fitzgerald or Sinatra.
Yes and no.
As a technical singer, someone who stays on key and offers a pleasing melody, Dylan is not your guy. Even if his vocalizing has changed over the years (the snarl from the early acoustic and electric works; the nasal crooning of his country period, and so on), it has never been palatable to many ears – and it took the Byrds and Peter, Paul and Mary, among others, to bring him to a more tunefully minded audience. I have had more arguments than I can count with people who just can’t handle Dylan singing – even when they admire the writing of the song itself.
Still, Dylan remains the best performer of his own work; Joan Baez, for one, has a more accomplished voice but it never quite works when she essays Dylan. The O’Jays did a sincere version of Bob’s “Emotionally Yours” at a Dylan tribute concert – but I still prefer Bob’s own. And the reason begins to get to why I have become so enamored of his current, Sinatra-esque period: Bob has long known how to phrase a song. He knows where the pauses go. He knows how long to stretch “how does it feeeeeel?” He knows where to surge (think of parts of “Hurricane”) and where to lie back (pretty much all the “John Wesley Harding” album).
On top of that, he’s old. He’s weathered. He is absolutely right for songs about looking back, about received wisdom and hard experience. He sits on a musical backing as lovely as that velvet pillow in Tiffany’s, and makes you feel all that can be felt in “Once Upon a Time” or “Sentimental Journey” or “This Nearly Was Mine,” all from “Triplicate.” (Check out also the two previous sets for gems like “Young at Heart” on “Fallen Angels,” although your patience may be tested by his “That Old Black Magic.”)
I listen to Dylan a lot in my car, and he has suddenly broken through the complications of traffic, my eyes still on the road but my ears and heart taken by him.
Again, I know that his vocals are not for everyone. Sometimes they have not been for me, either. I briefly enjoyed “Shadows in the Night” but have not gone back to it much. “Triplicate,” on the other hand, has called to me again and again. It is a large selection – 30 songs, arranged thematically into three 10-song sets – and yet a somewhat spartan one. Each set runs about half an hour, as do “Shadows” and “Fallen Angels” – the AllMusic review observed that “Shadows” is “like all the long-players of the '50s,” and the other sets fit the same pattern. But they’re mostly great.
I remember seeing Sinatra in concert around 1980. He was not in good voice, especially for those of us who tended to judge him based on the transcendent Capitol recordings. But even if he did have the range of his early years, he still commanded the stage through the way he phrased the songs. That went beyond simple tunefulness. And that’s what Dylan is doing.

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