But most of the album finds the folk bard in a contemplative mood, as reflected in the title.
“Depending on the distance can determine a lot of how you see a situation. ... You know, you could be in the middle of a divorce right now and you hate the person that's your ex. But 10 years down the road, depending on the distance, you may look back and laugh about it or actually realize you were the one that was mainly at fault,” he said.
Originals and covers
LaFave penned eight of the tracks on “Depending on the Distance,” including the pensive ballad “A Place I Have Left Behind,” the plain-spoken social commentary “It Just Is Not Right” and the folksy lover's plea “Talk to Me.”
The gospel-inspired nostalgia anthem “Bring Back the Trains” features buoyant backing vocals from Austin jazz/soul chanteuse Tameca Jones.
Folk songbird Eliza Gilkyson, another Austinite, prettily backs LaFave on his rendition of Bruce Springsteen's “Land of Hope and Dreams.” Along with “Red River Shore,” the album also features covers of two more Dylan songs, “I'll Remember You” and “Tomorrow Is a Long Time.”
He looked across the Red River for help with the album's most surprising cover, a rootsy remake of John Waite's 1984 chart-topper “Missing You.” The ode to lost love has been covered by artists as divergent as Alison Krauss and Tina Turner, but LaFave said his distaste for Brooks & Dunn's countrified 1999 version led him to record his soulful rendition, featuring Oklahoma guitarist Travis Linville.
“I thought, ‘That song just has to have some better reading than this,'” LaFave said. “I thought to bring a little more Okie vibe to the record, I'd get Travis to play. ... We did our best to try to rescue it from how far it'd fallen.
“It's an interesting study in the life of the song.”