When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky

On February 19, 1985, Bob Dylan was 44 years old. At that point in his life and career, he had achieved everything he could have dreamed of as a musician: sold best-selling records, loved by millions of listeners, and even recognized as being the “voice of a generation.” He was also a father of five,Continue reading “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky”

Romance in Durango

The film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum set the parameters for Acid Westerns as a film genre in his review of Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 film Dead Man. Rosenbaum writes in this seminal piece that Acid Westerns “confound much of our mythology about the western — reversing some of its philosophical presuppositions by associating a westward journey withContinue reading “Romance in Durango”

Isis

The idea of the film genre “Acid Western” was created by the film critic Pauline Kael in her 1971 review of the film El Topo in The New Yorker. She wrote: “The avant-garde devices that once fascinated a small bohemian group because they seemed a direct pipeline to the occult and ‘the marvelous’ now reachContinue reading “Isis”

If You See Her, Say Hello

Since the release of Blood on the Tracks in 1975, it has been one of Dylan’s most acclaimed and loved albums. Detailing the ins and outs of a relationship, many critics and fans thought that  Dylan was embracing the California confessional singer/songwriter style and musical approach, exhibited most beautifully and successfully on Joni Mitchell’s 1971Continue reading “If You See Her, Say Hello”

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

Arguably the best song title in Bob Dylan’s catalog, “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” off of 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited tells about the back and forth of sexual frustration between a couple.   The narrator starts things off: Well, I ride on a mailtrain, babyCan’t buy a thrill TheContinue reading “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”

I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

John Wesley Harding was released in late 1967, the first work heard by the outside world for about 18 months since the release of Blonde on Blonde. It’s also the first Dylan music heard by the general public after the motorcycle accident in which there were varying reports about the severity of Dylan’s injuries. TheContinue reading “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”

Going, Going Gone

When I first got together with my then-girlfriend-now-wife, she introduced me to the band Son Volt. Their first album Traces has a front-loaded first half, which includes the absolute gems “Windfall,” “Live Free,” and “Tear Stained Eye.” The simple chorus of “Windfall” is a perfect match-up of words and melody that resonates with the listenerContinue reading “Going, Going Gone”

Goin’ to Acapulco

My ideal response to a song after listening is that I want to have the urge to inhabit the world of the song. Sometimes this inhabitation means living inside the world as created literally by the lyrics being sung, or to go on the same adventure or share the same experiences as depicted by theContinue reading “Goin’ to Acapulco”

Brownsville Girl

When I first started listening to Dylan, the received wisdom was to ignore his mid-80s music and to focus on the major works in the 60s and 70s. The consensus was that by the mid-80s, he had lost his fastball. Albums such as Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded, Down in the Groove – the periodContinue reading “Brownsville Girl”

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Unlike “Billy 4” which was written before the movie Pat Garret & Billy the Kid went into production, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was inspired by the movie itself.  The song plays during the death scene of the sheriff who dies in a shootout alongside his wife. The sheriff is played by cowboy movie character actorContinue reading “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”