While the rest of us bask in the August sun, Bob Dylan is in the studio with his Santa hat on deciding which songs are nice enough to make it onto his first Christmas CD. Bullypulpit.com says that…

Bob has been quietly making a list that includes traditional Christmas carols as well as some more modern Yuletide favs. So far, it’s reported that "Must Be Santa,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas" and “O Little Town of Bethlehem" have been recorded for the album at Jackson Browne’s Groove Master’s Studios in Santa Monica, CA.

While some may be surprised that Dylan would release a Christmas CD, most who have followed his career say it’s consistent with his penchant for being inconsistent. Considering that Dylan’s contemporaries from Jimmy Buffett to Chicago to the Moody Blues have all released holiday collections, a more likely response would be, "What took him so long?"

Dylan fans and music critics do seem to find the singer/songwriter’s spirituality a point of fascination, and the inclusion of “O Little Town of Bethlehem," written by an Episcopal priest named Phillips Brooks after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, is likely to fuel speculation about Dylan’s current religious beliefs. In 1979, he publicly converted to Christianity, recorded explicitly religious material on three subsequent albums and for a time refused to play his old songs. 

"A Christmas album by Bob Dylan in the pipeline doesn’t really shock me," said Scott Marshall, author of a forthcoming book on the singer, "God and Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life". "At first glance it may sound bizarre, but I don’t think Dylan cares much about what his detractors might make of it. Dylan still sings songs from "Slow Train Coming" to this day and he’s both never renounced being Jewish or renounced his experience with Jesus some three decades ago. He remains enigmatic and this will probably be talked about for years to come." 

Originally posted 2009-08-10 21:24:43.