Monday, May 15, 2017

The Music of Duluth Dylan Fest 2017, from Robby Vee to the Basement Tapes Band and Beyond

Though we celebrate poetry, art and history (Dylan Trivia) during Duluth Dylan Fest, and the centerpiece of the week (his birthday), music is the major thread that runs through nearly everything. Here's a rundown of who is performing, when and where.

The official kickoff is Robby Vee and His Rock N Roll Caravan at Karpeles, an Armory Arts & Music Center benefit concert. If you're curious how Robby Vee intersects with Dylan, this YouTube video will give you the inside skinny.


A lot of people have forgotten that when Buddy Holly died in that plane crash, the tour did not end. an unforgettable initiation for the boy.

The tour bus headed north where the Dance Party continued in Moorhead, Minnesota across the border from Fargo.. Who stepped in to fill Buddy Holly's shoes? None other than a 15-year-old Bobby Vee,

Robby Vee's latest release is Blue Moon Blue, a project directed toward increasing awareness for Alzheimers. His father Bobby stepped down from touring in 2011 when he was diagnosed with the disease, and passed away this past year.

Dylan's tie to Bobby Vee was as Elston Gunnn. Young Robert Zimmerman talked his way into playing piano for a Fargo gig with Bobby Vee and his boys, and got his own first taste of what would become his life.

Reserve your seats for Robby Vee here.

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At Monday's 5-7 p.m. art reception there will also be some live music, and an opportunity to purchase T-shirts and prints from art by Kristi Abbott. I've been told these may not last the week, so you might wish to show up and purchase one to wear on the train Thursday. (A portion of the proceeds will go to defray the costs of Duluth Dylan Fest.) This is a Free event.

Tuesday, Sir Ben's will be the place to be. Greg Tiburzi will entertain from 6-8 p.m., followed an Open Mic hosted by Marc Gartman.

I've heard rumors (you may have heard them, too) of a pop-up Bob Dylan Birthday Party at his house on the Hillside, Wednesday mid-afternoon. With music, naturally. And a birthday cake. Our Poets of the Northland event will run from 6:30 - 8:30 in the Spirit of the North Theater, followed by a very special performance downstairs at The Rex: The Basement Tapes Concert. Tickets at $7 in advance (here at Eventbrite) or $10 at the door.



And then there's the Blood on the Tracks Express, our annual North Shore Railroad Excursion which keeps getting bigger and better, is always insanely memorable. If you've never been, there are a string of railroad cars featuring rock music at one end of the train and acoustic at the other. Upon arrival in Two Harbors there's a feast of Dylan music by the Freewheelers (a.k.a. The Boomchucks).

FEATURED MUSICIANS on the train this year include: Red Mountain; Rich Mattson & The Northstars; Gaelynn Lea & Al Church Erik Berry & Ryan Young of Trampled By Turtles. Kyle Ollah will be performing in the V.I.P. "Million Dollar Bash" car, a historic dining car featuring a private cash bar, finger foods by Chef Jonathan Berthel, and a private bathroom.

The train will board again this year at the Depot, 5:30 p.m. When the train leaves the station it should be 6:00. Get your tickets here at Eventbrite.

Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will

Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Flagging down the “Double E?”
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?

Now the wintertime is coming
The windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody
But I could not get across
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
I don’t wanna be your boss
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost

Bob Dylan
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

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Dylan T-Shirts & prints by Kristi Abbott
will be on sale all next week.
One of the great traditions of the Northland Dylan celebrations has been the Singer/Songwriter contest, originally in Hibbing but now resurrected in Duluth. Each contestant will sing an original song and a Dylan song, and you are all invited to Clyde Iron to take it in.

Saturday evening you're invited to return to Carmody's to feast on the music of Cowboy Angel Blue, a fave Iron Range band much loved by Northland Dylan fans for their Dylan and Neil Young renditions.

The final music event will be our Farewell Brunch with music by Jim Hall at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe.

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If you like encores, then you may wish to slip on over to Canal Park afterwards for the annual Battle of the Jug Bands, from 1-6 p.m.at the Amazing Grace Cafe. This is a one-of-a-kind family-friendly event.

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Meantime, can't wait to see you face-to-face.... 

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