Knoxville’s Bob Dylan Birthday Bash 2013

Bob Dylan Birthday Bash Poster, Knoxville, June 2013

Bob Dylan Birthday Bash Poster, Knoxville, June 2013

An amazing evening of music filled Market Square last Friday night. It was First Friday and after some debate, I decided to plant myself on Market Square and listen to music rather than catch some of the wonderful events scattered about the city. I’m sorry I missed some of those things, but the Dylan Birthday Bash was great. For those new to the blog, you might want to venture back in time to a couple of posts I did about Bob three years ago when he turned seventy. One has a listing of my picks for the top seventy Bob Dylan songs and the other talks about my life with Bob Dylan.

Mayor Rogero and Jack Neely at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Mayor Rogero and Jack Neely at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

The consensus that night was that this is the ninth annual Birthday Bash. I think this is my fifth. Event organizer Steve Horton told me it started at the Laurel Theater, moved to the East Tennessee History Center, then to the World’s Fair Park (where I joined up) and this is the third year the event has been held on Market Square. It seems to have found a home. Yes, we celebrate it a couple of weeks after the actual May 24 date, but this is Knoxville: we move at just a little slower pace.

Steve Dupree and Dwight Dwyer, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Steve Dupree and Dwight Dwyer, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Crowd at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Crowd at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

The idea is for local artists to play a brief selection of Dylan songs before yielding the stage to the next performer for another short set. The last couple of years the concert had ended with a forty-five minute set by Tim O’Brien who years ago recorded “Red on Blonde” an album of Bob Dylan covers. If the star power at the end was missed, I’m not sure by whom.

Norwegian Wood, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Norwegian Wood, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Norwegian Wood, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Norwegian Wood, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

The show started with Norwegian Wood and Alexia Pantanizopoulos and crew turned in a stunning set to get things started. The all-instrumental lineup (no vocals) displayed Bob’s great strength as a writer of melodies. Not something people typically associate with him. The standout that I simply can’t get out of my mind was “Lay Lady Lay.” Absolutely haunting. I hope some of this will be incorporated into their regular sets of Beatle material.

Alexia Pantanizopoulos of Norwegian Wood, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Alexia Pantanizopoulos of Norwegian Wood, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Girl at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Girl at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

The Set for Norwegian Wood: “My Back Pages,” “If Not For You,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Lay Lady Lay,” “It Ain’t Me Babe,” and “Rainy Day Women, #12 and 35.”

Clint Farley, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Clint Farley, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Clint Farley performed in the next slot and he, without a doubt, had one of the best, if not the best set of pipes on stage all night. Just an excellent voice. He’s young, so you have to give him that, but he made a couple of missteps. He played “Girl from the North Country” and “It Ain’t Me Babe,” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,”  followed by one of his own songs. His missteps? He said he was most familiar with the version of “It Ain’t Me Babe” performed by Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Hmm. After freaking out for a moment that I’d never known Janis and Bob played together, I realized he meant “Joan Baez.” Bad mistake. Then the fact that he performed his own song was a real goof. It was the only non-Bob song performed all night. It’s against the rules, man. Learn a fourth song and come back next year.

Bill Alexander, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Bill Alexander, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Girls at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Girls at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Bill Alexander gave a recitation of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Bill goes by the moniker “Appalachian Hippy Poet,” and he is a well-loved and known figure about town. As great a guy as you’d ever want to meet.

Dr. Sucks and the Mediocre Band, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Dr. Sucks and the Mediocre Band, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Dancers at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Dancers at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Dr. Sucks and the Mediocre Band were not what their name implied. Their set was very strong.  They played three songs from Blood on the Tracks, “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You go, “Simple Twist of Fate,” and “Shelter from the Storm,” from Blonde on Blonde, the song from which this blog derived its name, “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” and from Highway 61, “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.”

Kevin Abernathy with the Tim Lee Three, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kevin Abernathy with the Tim Lee Three, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kevin Abernathy with the Tim Lee Three, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kevin Abernathy with the Tim Lee Three, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kevin Abernathy took the stage backed by Tim and Susan Lee and the Tim Lee 3. He literally blew the audience away with his highly charged versions of Dylan classics and a couple of more recent songs for which I gave him extra-credit. He didn’t the extra points because his set was over-the-top amazing. I turned to Shaft and asked, “How would you like to follow that?”  His set included “Stayed in Mississippi a Day Too Long,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Summer Days,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Like a Rolling Stone.” The crowd was up and rocking by the time he finished.

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolle and the Will Boyd Project slowed this down a bit with their jazz stylings and it turned out to be the perfect way to follow Kevin: do something entirely different. Will and his band started with an instrumental version of “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,” and then Kelle joined the group for “One More Weekend,” “It Ain’t Me Babe,” and “New Morning.” Her vocals are always a treat, but they seemed especially incredible on this evening. The flower in her hair also won the award for “Biggest Vegetation on Stage.”

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Itchy and the Hater Tots, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Itchy and the Hater Tots, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Dancers at the Bob Dylan Birthday , Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Dancers at the Bob Dylan Birthday , Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Itchy and the Hater Tots played next and turned in a solid set. I think it was about them and I think it was Bill Foster who said the jangly sound reminded him of the Byrds. Their set included “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” and “My Back Pages,” all of which were, as I’m sure you know, covered by the Byrds.

Daniel Kimbro with Greg Horne and Tim Lee, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Daniel Kimbro with Greg Horne and Tim Lee, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Young Dancers, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Young Dancers, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Daniel Kimbro who backs up everybody in town on bass stepped up to the microphone and took a lead role for one song. I’d never heard him sing and two things struck me: He’s got a very good voice, and he’s singing a very obscure, lengthy song and he knows all the words! Very impressive. His song was “Billy,” from the Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Soundtrack. Great song.

Greg Horne with Daniel Kimbro, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Greg Horne with Daniel Kimbro, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Young Dancers, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Young Dancers, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Greg Horne took a break from backing everyone on guitar to perform a version of “Never Say Goodbye.” Very well done, of course, and yet another relatively unknown song, this one from Planet Waves.

R.B. Morris with Greg Horne and Tim Lee, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

R.B. Morris with Greg Horne and Tim Lee, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Mayor Rogero Dancing at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Mayor Rogero Dancing at the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

So, I’m thinking, well it was nice to hear a couple of lesser-known songs mixed in. Glad we worked that in. Little did I know that the most obscure had not yet been played. R.B. Morris tuned his guitar, stepped up to the front and sang “Yea Heavy and a Bottle of Bread,” from “The Basement Tapes” followed by the only song I didn’t recognize all night, though I know it, “Spanish Harlem Incident” from “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

Young Dancer, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Young Dancer, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Kevin Abernathy and I laughed about it while R.B. played. I saw R.B. on Sunday and mentioned how he seemed to be playing “stump the crowd,” and he admitted as much. He seemed startled that I knew a couple of the others, but when I said I didn’t catch the one, he began quoting lyrics in that R.B. sort of mystical tone he can get:

“Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem
Cannot hold you to its heat
Your temperature’s too hot for taming
Your flaming feet burn up the street
I am homeless, come and take me
Into reach of your rattling drums
Let me know, babe, about my fortune
Down along my restless palms”

Mayor Rogero takes a photograph in the rain of the Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Mayor Rogero takes a photograph in the rain of the Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Great stuff. He ended his set with the better known “Tears of Rage,” which he dedicated to co-writer Richard Manuel, “You’re a Big Girl Now,” and another obscure song which I did recognize, “Minstrel Boy,” which was released as a live performance on the “Self Portrait” album.

Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Hector Qirko, Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Hector Qirko, Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

The much anticipated re-union set by the Lonesome Coyotes including ex-pat Hector Qirko was as good as anyone could hope. The also performed recent material, beginning their set with the great recent songs, “Duquesne Whistle” and “Someday Baby.” Someone to the side of the stage asked, “Who is that woman?” and fell in love with Maggie Longmire on the spot. They offered their own obscurity with “If You Gotta Go, Go Now,” and then the better known “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You.”

Maggie Longmire with the Lonesome Coyotes2, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Maggie Longmire with the Lonesome Coyotes2, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Maggie Longmire with the Lonesome Coyotes2, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Most of us who love Bob Dylan’s music have an album that changed our musical world, if not our political and/or spiritual world. Steve Horton said that for him it was “Blonde on Blonde,” and the band played another relative obscurity, at least to the casual fan: “Temporary Like Achilles.” They concluded their set with “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” and a beautiful, elegiac “Forever Young.”

Rains fall with the Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Rains fall with the Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Steve Horton and Maggie Longmire of the Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Steve Horton and Maggie Longmire of the Lonesome Coyotes, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

The stage then filled for what has become a tradition, with all the performers joining for a song. The selection was “I Shall be Released,” and I saw more than one person with tears mingling with the rain. It’s a great song that conjures up so much emotion in people, as do so many of Bob’s works.

Finale, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Finale, Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, Market Square, Knoxville, June 2013

Our mayor sang, danced and took photographs just like the rest of the crowd, proving, if there was any doubt, that we have the coolest Mayor in America. Most of the crowd of several hundred didn’t budge when the rain began to fall and everyone was soaked by the end. If the weather had been better the number would likely have been in the thousands like it was last year. It’s a great tradition and one I hope continues for many years here and around the world where his birthday is similarly noted.

Comments

  1. Hated to miss this event. Love the Lonesome Coyotes – and Dylan, of course. Had already purchased tix to a Knox Heritage event that same bight. Boo. Thanks so much for this post to at least let me be there vicariously.

  2. Seriously. Do not get. The Bob Dylan thing. I used to be on the board of governors of a local non-profit theatre group (*you* figure it out) which loved loved loved the Dylan. Said one night, “Srsly do not get the Bob Dylan thing.” Now not on the board of governors.

    Can anyone get me some Janis Joplin, please?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      I adore Janis for what she was – a singer with a singular voice. But imagine a night where people played their favorite Janis songs. After thirty minutes they would be completely obscure. It’s just not the same thing. I understand not “liking” Dylan (sort of), but there is no one else like him in American music history. Janis was awesome, Bob changed the world. Janis sang incredibly, Bob wrote hundreds of songs that will live, probably, forever. As for kicking you off the board of governors, well, that sort of misses the spirit of Bob’s work, doesn’t it?

  3. Nice pictures, on a night that wasn’t cooperative for that sort of thing.

  4. The song “Forever Young” always makes me cry. Luckily, the rain hid my weeping well. Friday night was one of my favorite Knoxville nights by far.

  5. “It Takes a Lot to Laugh…” is from Highway 61.
    I legally changed my last name to Dylan because Zimmy means so much to me!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      And so it is. I really think that’s how he introduced it, so my mind just accepted it. I think I can name all the tracks on Hwy 61 in order. I do, however, get a little miffed at Zimmy when I’m trying to sort out in my mind all the songs that have names which have no direct connection to the song – “Obviously Five Believers,” etc. Thanks for the editing. And you what? I’d noted your last name when I first heard it, of course, but wow! That makes my full-body tattoo of his face seem superfluous! (Just Kidding) We definitely have to talk.

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