Lyric Of The Week: Bob Dylan, “Ballad In Plain D”

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Of the thousand or so songs that Bob Dylan has written in his career, only a precious few are what you could call autobiographical, in the sense that they detail actual events in his life without any obfuscating filters inserted by the songwriter. There’s “Day Of The Locusts”, which recounted Bob’s uncomfortable afternoon receiving an […]

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Read Bob Dylan’s Full MusiCares Person of the Year Speech

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MusiCares – a charity organization that aids musicians in need – honored Bob Dylan with the Person of the Year award during  Grammy Awards weekend. After performances by Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Beck, Jackson Browne and others, Dylan himself stepped up to the podium and delivered an insightful, thankful and poignant speech […]

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The Top 20 Townes Van Zandt Songs

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This List appears in our May/June 2013 issue. Subscribe here. Townes Van Zandt recorded just nine studio albums from his debut album in 1968 until his death in 1997, but those albums are so jam-packed with impeccable songs that it makes choosing just 20 of them a nearly impossible task. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect way […]

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A People’s History of American Songwriter: Davis Inman

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Davis Inman: Gear  and Business editor (2008-2011); Contributing editor (2012-2013) A great memory from my years at American Songwriter involved writing a feature story on rock music in Nashville in the 1960s and ’70s. I think the idea for the story came from senior editor Michael Kosser and his close relationship with Nashville songwriter Curly Putman, […]

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30 Songs for 30 Years

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In honor of our 30th anniversary, we revisited thirty essential tracks from the last thirty years. From Bruce Springsteen to Hurray for the Riff Raff, some of the greatest songs by the most influential of the last three decades are represented here. Join us in taking a look back at musical history. 1984: “Born In The […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Pete Seeger, “We Shall Overcome”

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It is one of the most well-known and stirring folk songs in the history of America, perhaps rivaled only by “This Land Is Your Land” in terms of significance and impact. As is the case with so many folk songs, however, it’s hard to pin down just where “We Shall Overcome” originated. An early twentieth-century […]

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American Songwriter’s Christmas Playlist

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A great American songwriter once wrote, “Jingle bells/ Batman smells/ Robin laid an egg.” We may never know the author of that timeless composition, but here’s 20 more great holiday songs whose origins are not in doubt. Season’s greetings, y’all. 1. Paul Simon – “Getting Ready For Christmas Day” 2. Hayes Carll – “Grateful for […]

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Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes – Various Artists

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Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes Various Artists (Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars On Nov. 4, Bob Dylan released The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Volume 11, a six-disc, 138-track box set that marks the first time every recording from his 1967 Basement Tapes sessions will be compiled in […]

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Bob Dylan & The Band: The Basement Tapes Complete

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Bob Dylan and The Band The Basement Tapes Complete! (Legacy) Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars Music fans having access to the complete archives of The Basement Tapes is somewhat akin to historians being presented with the tapes of the meetings of the Continental Congress or art buffs who receive a videotape of Da […]

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Concert Review: Bob Dylan Brings The Goods To Hollywood

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Bob Dylan and Band. Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, California. October 24, 2014. Bob Dylan’s endless tour touched down in Hollywood Friday night for the first of a three-night stint at the Dolby Theatre. Originally the Kodak Theatre, built to house the annual Academy Awards, it’s an elegant venue. Scarlet throughout, it’s much more intimate than the last […]

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Country Music Hall of Fame Announces New Exhibition

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Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame announced its next exhibition, Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. The exhibition will take a retrospective look at the rock and folk artists of the late ’60s and early ’70s who traveled to Nashville to work with the Nashville Cats, a group of talented session musicians who played […]

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Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes Set For November Release

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Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James and Marcus Mumford have teamed up with producer T Bone Burnett for Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, a collaborative album based on recently discovered lyrics from Bob Dylan’s 1967 The Basement Tapes sessions. The album releases via Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records […]

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