When Bob Dylan returned as a solo acoustic recording artist in the early 90’s, many were surprised. A lot of folks thought they would never again hear Bob alone with a guitar. But few thought if they did, the playing would be described as “magnificent, skilled, exciting” guitar work – as it was called by today’s guest.
While it’s often noted that Dylan’s lyrics aren’t meant to stand alone on the page, the music that accompanies them just doesn’t get as much attention or discussion as those famously over-analyzed lyrics. Music is harder to write about, and very few have managed to do it well and to make their ideas accessible to all of us listeners who lack our own musical knowledge, experience, and even vocabulary.
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Eyolf Østrem is a Norwegian Musicologist and Dylan fan who has taken on that challenge. For years at DylanChords.com and more recently at Dylanology.substack.com he has taken to transcribing and explaining the musical side of Bob Dylan. He recently turned his magnifying glass and microscope and keyboard onto Good As I Been To You and World Gone Wrong – perfect timing for us.
His recent series of posts (links below) dive in deep and explain through examples the new methods and inventive / expressive ways that Dylan makes the sounds that make these albums so enjoyable and compelling. Recently he joined us to share more of his thoughts on that exact topic.
It turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that Dylan is just as compelling and idiosyncratic – as well as accomplished and effective – with his guitar as he is with his pen. Listen as Eyolf explain it to us in ways that can offer new things to listen for and new ways to enjoy 90’s acoustic Dylan.
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