Breathing new life into old classics

Bob Dylan and his band will play Friday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.

If you want to know what sort of performer Bob Dylan is at 73 years old, look no further than his latest album “Shadows in the Night.”

Because while it features a number of Frank Sinatra originals and pop standards, the songs he chose and the way he simplified them for a five-piece band has restored meaning to pieces of music that have quite literally been played out over the years.

And in a larger sense, that’s the beauty of how Bob Dylan’s music has remained relevant to our culture for decades.

“I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way,” he said in a statement upon the album’s release. “They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.”

Carefully choosing the right songs and performing them in unexpected ways is part of what makes Bob Dylan such a poetic performer. He’s nobody’s cover band, especially not his own.

So if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane at his upcoming concert, know this: He’s not going to play you his juke box hits and call it a night. What he might do is brush the dust off an old favorite and rework its structure to give new meaning to the words and its feeling.

But that’s not to say he doesn’t know how to appeal to the nostalgic.

During his sole interview ahead of “Shadows in the Night” with “AARP The Magazine,” which targets readers 50 years old and older, he said he wanted to give every reader a copy of the album for free because that’s who would appreciate the old songs.

“I don’t care about age, but the adolescent youth market, I think it goes without saying, might not have the experience it takes to understand these songs and appreciate them,” he said in the interview.