Let me preface this by saying that the fact Dylan is donating all of the U.S. royalties from his upcoming album to the charity Feeding America is a very noble move, and one that deserves respect. He obviously doesn't need the money, but there might be something more -- something regarding the theme of the album -- that lead him to such a decision.
We all know Bob Dylan's isn't the singer's real name. Those fans of Dylan's and even some casual observers of the icon's career know he was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on an unassuming May afternoon in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941. He grew up to become the performer that he is today, all under his assumed last name of "Dylan." There is no mistaking what he has done in his career to this point, especially considering his latest album will be his 47th -- an astonishing number. It's this newest album's content and theme, however, that makes it absolutely ridiculous and head-scratchingly odd.
Yes, if you haven't figured it out by now, the artist born Robert Zimmerman -- Zimmerman -- will be releasing a Christmas album. Christmas In The Heart will hit stores October 13, just in time for Halloween.
In reading the blurb about Christmas In The Heart on Dylan's website, the album will go a long way to providing those that go hungry during the Holidays with much-needed meals. Again, it's a very nobel and selfless act by Dylan to use his fame as an artist to provide charity for those in need. I, however, am noticing that all the initial press about the album is focused solely on the humanitarian effort rather than the fact that a Jewish man is recording Christmas music.
I suppose it's okay that Dylan is recording this album -- he's given himself the perfect distraction with his charitable efforts. I assume a lot of people will think, "Wait, Dylan is recording 'Frosty The Snowman?' Oh, he's donating proceeds to charity...but still, isn't he Jewish?" In the end, it's still an odd choice for someone like Dylan, but this is America and he'll get a lot more attention if he records a Christmas album than if he records a Hanukkah one.
Oh, for those keeping track, Bob Dylan's Hebrew name is Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham.
Here's some video of Kent Jones having a little fun at Dylan's expense (complements of BrooklynVegan):