How I Found Bob Dylan

There’s a bar in Dublin called Bruxelles and back in the glory days, it was a regular hangout for me. Upstairs was more of a lounge bar with live acts playing jazz or blues and food being served, but downstairs was a sweaty, smoke filled rock bar with rockers in faded denim, worn out leather, dodgy tattoos, brave hairstyles, bad habits, Harley Zippos, JDs, Southern Comfort, snakebites in a row and regular selections from the best jukebox in the world. It was on this jukebox that I first heard Voodoo Chile by Hendrix, Sympathy for the Devil by The Stones, Lola" by The Kinks, “One by Metallica and so many others. I was a green-horned townie buck, up in the Big Smoke looking for adventure, devilment and two of whatever it was you were having.

One soggy Sunday afternoon, the jukebox made its selection-that snare hit and the glorious sounds of Like a Rolling Stone filled that basement and blew my mind to smithereens. I was smitten. Bob Dylan. Within a month, I had acquired copies of Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing it all Back Home and Blonde on Blonde and I was forever changed.

Around this time, my first serious relationship hit the rocks and I was given a copy of Blood On The Tracks by a friend. To paraphrase the great man - Every one of those words rang true and I listened to it over and over, til it was written inside my soul. I learned how to play every song on that sacred slice of wax and it soaked into my very being. I am not shy to admit there were some dark nights that those songs pulled me thro’.  

Every one of Dylan’s albums that I have come to possess, seem to reflect my life at that time. I didn’t collect them in any linear sequence;  it was random. Infidels, Time Out of Mind, Desire, Slow Train Coming, Another Side Of, The Bootleg Series 1-3, Modern Times, Love And Theft,, Rough and Rowdy Ways, The Freewheelin’ , Oh Mercy!…

So all that being said, I recently joined  The Muddy River Band who play the songs of Bob Dylan as well as Neil Young and Van Morrison. We are a 7 piece band and are playing a few shows in Ireland over the coming months. The next one is at The Moat Theatre in Naas on September 21st 2023 and it will be a night to cherish. Then we take it to The Well  in Dublin City Centre on November25th. More TBA soon.

One of my favourite Dylan songs is Not Dark Yet" from Time Out of Mind.  Here, I perform it solo, with an acoustic guitar and a racked harmonica and I thank Conor O'Connell, stage manager at The Moat Theatre, for capturing the moment live.  At the  show, it's a full band arrangement. A night not to be missed I can assure you!!

What artist blew your mind and how did you discover them?

 Go raibh maith agat.