Mishara Records has just released a new LP (yes, a vinyl record!) of music performed by the Justin Quinn Band called Lazy By Nature. I wrote the lyrics for track #6, “A Woman’s Trick.” Justin, a legendary blues harpist, and guitarist Jon Ross teamed up on the music. I’d like to think that puts me at only two degrees of separation from two of the greatest songwriters of our time, as Ross has played guitar for Duke Robillard, who played for Bob Dylan and Tom Waits! The LP cover in its cover is a work of art suitable for hanging (I’m talking from experience), but for those of you without turntables, the songs can be downloaded from iTunes or Amazon.com here
Robert Hudson has written “a parallel biography” of what some might consider an unlikely pair, Thomas Merton and Bob Dylan. Both of these poets, however, figured largely as influences on my own development as a poet and Catholic thinker. Read a review of the book in Commonweal.
Certainly there’s reason to be disappointed that Bob Dylan chose not to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in person, but it should be clear to his many fans that he’s not cut out for that kind of pomp and ceremony. Listen again to “Day of the Locust.” In any event, Dylan’s acceptance speech is a good read. Micah Mattix complained in The Weekly Standard that the speech makes reference to outdated Shakespeare scholarship, but I rather doubt that Dylan reads much literary criticism. It seems to me that Dylan simply wanted to talk about his practical approach to writing songs as a working musician. He sounds a lot like my pal Justin Quinn talking about his own songs, which is a whole lot better than listening to some literary figures talk about their work.
The Telegraph (UK) catches up to Bob Dylan, on tour in Oklahoma, who sounds pleasantly surprised by his being chosen to receive the Nobel Prize. What’s best about this article, though, are the photographs of Dylan’s paintings and the iron sculpture he’s been doing lately. What a prolific maker!
Ostensibly a review of a terrible book, Alan Jacobs’ essay in Books & Culture, published in 1998, is one of the most intelligent pieces I’ve read about our enigmatic Nobel Laureate.
Pleasantly soaking in the good news. Here are links to some of the best articles I’ve found about Dylan receiving the award: David Remnick in The New Yorker, Jay Parini at CNN, A. E. Stallings in the Times Literary Supplement, Rob Sheffield in The Rolling Stone, and Dwight Garner in The New York Times.