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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Sunday, April 05, 2009


It was a huge pleasure to meet the writer and literary blogger Steven Hart at my Nyack NY gig, and he did indeed seem to enjoy the performance - but I hadn't expected anything so flattering as the review he has already put online here (underneath one of the more severe photo-faces I've managed to pull in recent years: pre-gig nerves rather than ill will on my part). It was also a pleasure to meet another fellow-writer, Nick DiGiovanni, both at the event and afterwards.

It was also great for me - slightly alarming but great - that Rob Stoner did indeed come to hear me speak. He was quick to enthuse, and, as I'd remembered from our first meeting (at the John Green Convention in Northampton a couple of years ago) an exceptionally warm, alert and approachable man. The day after the gig, I drove out to the terrific home in the woods he shares with partner Margery and spaniel Cricket, 45 minutes from Manhattan. Rob's music room throbs with guitars, records, books, sheet music and an unstoppable enthusiasm. He's proud to show souvenirs of his Rolling Thunder years - and his days with Link Wray, Robert Gordon and more besides - but he's not living in the past.

He just respects it. One of the books he showed me was his heavy old hardback of John and Alan Lomax's collection of American folk songs - a copy autographed by John Lomax. The house itself was built in the 1840s, and there's a big red barn to go with it.

Rob squeezed me in between guitar lessons - and when he showed me his schedule for the month of April I realised he really had squeezed me in. He had no regrets about having decided to stop schlepping about on the road.

And I can quite see that. I'm missing my own home and family even on my relatively short tour. I'm sitting in the Days Inn coffee shop on Carlton Street, Toronto, after a post-Nyack night in Manhattan, a bus ride to the airport at Newark and the flight up here at lunchtime. My next talk/show is tomorrow night, at Hugh's Room, Dundas Street West, at 8.30pm. Then back home, via Newark and JFK, for a few days in Southwest France before a mid-April event at Buxton Opera House.

Everyone at Daemen College the other day was asking if I'd heard the free-download track from Bob's new album. I hadn't, because I'd been travelling that day. I've been sent one very negative comment about it (which is published somewhere below) but those who were asking me were enthusiastic. As was, to take us back almost to the beginning of this post, Nick DiGivanni. He encouraged me by saying it sounded nothing like Modern Times: more like an old Stax record. I hope.


Anonymous Paul said...

Nice piece here about intriguing similarities between Beyond Here Lies Nothing and an old Otis Rush track:

11:41 pm  
Blogger joe butler said...

Hi Michal, sorry I havn't left any comments lately, but I managed to melt my lap top keyboard with a fan heater( dont ask). Glad to hear about your stateside successes, hope to hear you at Ledbury in May. My wife has finally given me the enclyclopedia for my 60th, love its eclecticness , your partiality and absense of loathesome "balance". When I paint my dylan masterpiece you might give me a line. regards joe

12:00 pm  

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