Bob Dylan archive opens for researchers

800px-Joan_Baez_Bob_DylanIn more Dylan news, the Bob Dylan Archive here in Oklahoma is now open for researchers.  It won’t be open to the public for another two years.  It will then be housed in the Woody Guthrie Museum in Tulsa.  (Read our earlier post on how Oklahoma got Dylan’s archives.)

But the collection has been sufficiently organized and curated to give researchers access to the more than 6,000 manuscripts, tapes, instruments, memorabilia, and unreleased songs.

An article about the opening, including information on how to gain access to the collection, is after the jump. [Read more…]

Dylan will pick up his Nobel Prize this weekend

NobelPrize1Bob Dylan, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, shocked the Swedish Academy by not attending the ceremony in December to receive the honor.  But he is doing some concerts in Sweden this weekend, so he has arranged to pick up the prize.

He will not, however, give the traditional lecture.  The thing is, in order to get the $903,000 that goes with the medallion, he has to give the speech within six months of the December 10 award.  So he has until June 10.

The Swedish Academy, which bestows the honors, says that it expects him to turn in a videotaped lecture before the deadline.  That apparently counts.  But it would be like Dylan to blow off the money.  He may think it would be worth nearly a million dollars to avoid giving a speech.   I suspect many people with a fear of public speaking can relate to that.

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A new Bob Dylan interview

Bob_Dylan_-_Azkena_Rock_Festival_2010_2Bob Dylan has a new album coming out at the end of the month:  Triplicate.  It’s a triple album–the equivalent of three CDs–and it’s more standards, his third album in a row covering Sinatra-style songs from the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.  Stardust.  Stormy Weather.  Sentimental Journey.  (Go to the Amazon link above to see what songs are on the album.  You can buy some of them individually already, though the album won’t be released until March 31.)

In conjunction with the album, the Nobel laureate has posted on his website a wide-ranging and fascinating interview with author and TV producer Bill Flanagan.

He talks about Minnesota, his childhood, his early career, but mostly he talks music.  He explains what he loves about these songs, while also showing that he keeps up with contemporary music.  Showing an encyclopedic knowledge of music, Dylan talks chords, charts, styles, and phrasing.  We see Dylan as a performer and also as a music producer, explaining what he looks for in a drummer, what he tries to do in the studio, explaining how he sequences the songs on his albums.

For an overview of the interview–nice phrase, if I do say so myself–read this.  From Rolling Stone, here is a link to “Bob Dylan’s Surprise, Extensive New Interview: 9 Things We Learned.

After the jump, a link to the interview itself.  Read it all, but I quote his answers to only two questions: one on the different styles in his singing;  and one giving his reflections on the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. [Read more…]

Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry

The pioneering rock ‘n’ roll guitarist and songwriter Chuck Berry died.  He was 90 years old.

I saw him perform at his St. Louis club Blueberry Hill.  He must have been in his 80s.  But what energy he showed!  What joy!  What connection with his audience!

After the jump, a link to an obituary story that goes into detail about just what it was about his guitar playing and his songwriting that made them so good.

Also, read this interview from 1987, in which Berry confessed that his favorite kind of music is big band.  Also how he wrote from a teenager’s perspective even though he was an adult and far older than his rock musician peers such as Elvis.  And why he wasn’t bitter that white musicians like Presley and the Rolling Stones made much more money from his music than he did.

In memory of “the Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” here is a clip of him playing at Blueberry Hill in his 80’s.  Yes, his voice is about gone, but listen to him playing the guitar.  Like ringing a bell.

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A religious revival in music?

Chance_The_Rapper_2013Major rappers like Grammy-winner Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar are now rhyming about Jesus.  So are groups like indie-rockers Saintseneca and the post-punk Protomartyr.  So are singer-songwriters like Sufjan Stevens.

Marc Barnes says that “every genre of music is undergoing a religious revival.” But music critics don’t know what to do with it.   

I am way out of touch with what is going on in contemporary music.  Those of you who follow it, is there really, as Barnes says, a “spiritual revolution that has already changed the face of contemporary music”?

Read what Barnes says about this after the jump.

Photo of Chance the Rapper, Wikipedia, Creative Commons

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Trumpism as the new punk rock

Sex_Pistols_in_Paradiso_-_Johnny_Rotten_&_Steve_JonesA young former-buttoned-down conservative at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) said that he has moved to the alt.right because it feels like “the new punk rock.”  Scott Galupo of The Week discussed this with Daniel Wattenberg, a former punk rocker, now a respectable editor.

Wattenberg disassociated punks with the alt.right, but he did see a connection to the Donald Trump phenomenon.  He said, “I have to say, it does feel similar in a lot of ways, psychologically and emotionally,”

Wattenberg says that Trump and his supporters are to traditional conservatives as the punks were to the hippies.  Trump and his supporters are to professional politicians as punk music was to progressive rock.  Also, both Trumpism and punks are “transgressive” in defying political correctness.

Wattenberg and Galupo unpack those observations and more  after the jump.
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