Hooked on Dylan
Author has studied musician's style, impact
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:00 AM
Michael Gray grew up in the 1960s listening to rock 'n' roll music.
On Thursday, Michael Gray will give a presentation at Hanover College titled: Bob Dylan and the Poetry of the Blues.” The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Duggan Library.
He was studying in England when he heard a distinct voice that would help define a generation of music.
Bob Dylan, Gray said, immediately caught his ear.
"I was introduced to his work by a rather attractive young woman and it was like nothing I knew. I was brought up on rock 'n' roll. I couldn't have imagined someone as out-of-left-field as him being so interesting," Gray said.
"He was somebody who was trying to sound very old before he went electric, but clearly he wasn't."
Gray said he knew he wanted to study Dylan's work. The first volume of "Song and Dance Man: The art of Bob Dylan" was the first critical study of the musician's work. Gray has published two more volumes as well as "The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia."
"The first album that I sat down and listened to was "Another Side of Bob Dylan." And then of course after that every album sounded so different, one from the other," Gray said. "He always jumped off that little niche and jumped off into something else."
"He has, if you look down the broad sweep, he has explored every avenue of American popular songs."
On Thursday, Gray will give a presentation at Hanover College titled: Bob Dylan and the Poetry of the Blues." The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Duggan Library.
"I'll be taking people through a chronology of his lifetime. Playing some tracks which show his own enormous variety but also his consistency in using blues lyric poetry."
Dylan's apparent influence from pre-war American blues music comes from some of the phrases and terminology he uses in his music, Gray said.
"Dylan's use of (blues lyric poetry) is undernoted. In the third and final addition of 'Song and Dance Man' there is a 109- page chapter on Bob Dylan's use of the blues," Gray said. "It's amazing how much he must have listed to pre-war blues."
Gray's presentation is free and open to the public.