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Comrades From The North

Welcome to another year in the Dylan universe. And what a year. After the past twenty-four months of virus lockdown, testing, travel restrictions and everything else that we have all lived through the hope was for a new, brighter, and healthy future. Sadly the world has been turned upside down once more as the master of war has ploughed his destructive path in the Ukraine. What the future holds is never clear but, right now, that future is perilously uncertain. Our profound best wishes go out to the Ukrainian people and all of those within the Russian state who share the worldís horror at the unfolding devastation. Letís hope that freedom soon will come. Please let peace prevail.

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An' for each an' every underdog soldier in the night
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Back in the other world, Dylan is on the road again. This time around he is engaged in a 28-date swing through the southern US states with the same band that accompanied him throughout his 2021 trip. Not much has changed. The shows still feature seventeen songs, the songs are the same songs as per the 2021 tour and are played in the same order (at the time of writing) except for the welcome introduction of Crossing The Rubicon in place of Early Roman Kings which has been a virtual ever-present since its debut in the set in 2012. A welcome change. Recordings of the early shows seem to reveal a slightly low-key, possibly introspective set of performances but beautifully played, of course. Nine of the songs are sourced form Rough And Rowdy Ways and, being wordy, require some attention from the audiences which they thankfully get. There are up-tempo numbers in the set but this is not your classic, heads-down, foot-stomping, rock 'n' roll extravaganza and is the better for it. The lyrics are there to be heard and listened to and, on the evidence of recordings thus far, they come across clearly as does Dylanís piano playing which has not always been the case. Dylan continues to exercise his penchant for changing the lyrics to old favourites and he has also been talking to the audiences ahead of the encore song.

Dylan is all set to publish a new work in November. Apparently he has been beavering away since 2010 on a series of essays which are to be gathered together in a work entitled The Philosophy of Modern Song to be published by Simon& Schuster. The book contains over 60 essays that Dylan wrote about songs by artists including Stephen Foster, Elvis Costello, Hank Williams, and Nina Simone. The press release provides further information:

[Dylan] analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal.

It is reported that Dylan will narrate a portion of the audiobook, and there will also be other voices. The president (and CEO) of Simon & Schuster, Jonathan Karp, said:

The publication of Bob Dylanís kaleidoscopically brilliant work will be an international celebration of songs by one of the greatest artists of our time. The Philosophy of Modern Song could only have been written by Bob Dylan. His voice is unique, and his work conveys his deep appreciation and understanding of songs, the people who bring those songs to life, and what songs mean to all of us.

In the meantime please try to keep hope alive, stay sane and hereís a wish that you all stay safe.

May you climb on every rung ..........

Mike & John

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