XPoNential Fest: An Americanarama grand finale with Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Ryan Bingham

Bob Dylan and his Band | Photo by John Vettese
Bob Dylan and his Band | Photo by John Vettese

Though yesterday’s record-setting torrential downpour washed out Wiggins Park headliners Dawes, the 2013 XPoNential Music Festival ended on a high note with tremendous Americanarama lineup of Ryan Bingham, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and the legendary Bob Dylan and his band.

After an earnest performance from Bingham, MMJ came on and electrified the crowd with a broad-reaching set “I’m Amazed” to “Wordless Chorus” and a special appearance by Dawes compatriots Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, who joined Jim James and company on a cover of “Waiting On A Friend” by The Rolling Stones. Next up was Wilco, whose set also drew from across their catalog; impressive moments included a breathtaking “Poor Places” (from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), a jaw-dropping “Impossible Germany” (from Sky Blue Sky) and a rousing finale of “Dreamer in my Dreams.”

Dylan and his tight band closed out the night with a set frontloaded with material from his recent LPs Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft and last year’s Tempest. As it continued, though, Dylan worked further into his catalog for new arrangements (not immediately recognizable) of classics like “Tangled Up In Blue” and”A Hard Rain’s-A Gonna Fall”, as well as nuggets like “She Belongs To Me” from Bringing It All Back Home. Though his set did not feature any of the collaborative moments of previous tour stops, the XPoNential crowd did get an encore of “Ballad of a Thin Man.” See photos from the show in the gallery below.


Bob Dylan, playing AmericanaRama Festival of Music, releasing The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) in August

Dylan Bootleg Series Vol 10 cover Bob Dylan is releasing Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series, Volume 10 on August 27. The previously unreleased recordings, demos and alternate takes on the thirty five song collection draw mainly from the 1970 studio recording sessions that resulted in the Self Portrait and New Morning albums. A bonus CD includes a live concert with Dylan and The Band at the Isle of Wright from August, 1969. Dylan is headlining the AmericanaRama Festival of Music on Sunday, July 28, with Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Ryan Bingham, as part of the XPoNential Music Festival with a 3-day “go everywhere” pass. Go here for tickets.

When Self-Portrait was released in June of 1970 it was not critically well received. Writing the review for Rolling Stone, music critic Greil Marcus led the review off with the line “What is this shit?” and concluded with: “When you consider how imaginative the backing on other Dylan records has been, the extremely routine quality of most of the music on Self-Portrait can become irritating. It is so uninteresting.” David Dye, currently host of the World Cafe, was a DJ on WMMR when Self-Portrait was released. “I hated it,” says Dye. “It was corny and why was he doing covers of songs? We did not embrace that album,” Dye adds. New Morning, released four months after in October, 1970, received a much better reception from fans and critics. Ed Ward, in his review of it in Rolling Stone, led the review off with: “Well, friends, Bob Dylan is back with us again. I don’t know how long he intends to stay, but I didn’t ask him. Didn’t figure it was any of my business. Put simply, New Morning is a superb album. It is everything that every Dylan fan prayed for after Self Portrait.”

Below, check out the track list and watch the trailer about the album with commentary from Al Kooper and David Bromberg, both of whom played on the original sessions for New Morning and Self-Portrait.

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For Sale: Bob Dylan’s legendary Newport Festival guitar

Dylan at Newport | Photo from the Ochs Archive / Getty Images

Up until 1965, Bob Dylan was gaining incredible popularity on the American folk scene, playing the revered Newport Folk Festival in 1963 and 1964.

When he returned for a third performance in 1965 Dylan did something that would change music history forever: he played his set with a band, through amps, with an electric guitar.

After being introduced by Peter Yarrow, Bob Dylan came on stage and began “Maggie’s Farm” amplified and continued that way for the rest of his fifteen minute set.  The performance brought roars from the crowd.  Possibly boos, possibly cheers, the crowd reaction has be debated for decades.  But one thing is certain: this performance helped turn Dylan into the legend that he is today.  And now the sunburst Fender Stratocaster he used at that legendary gig is up for auction.

dylanelectricguitarAlong with some lyrics found in a guitar case, by New Jersey’s Dawn Paterson (and verified as the actual Dylan guitar last summer on an episode of PBS’ History Detectives) this is a stunning piece of history for sale.  Below, you can watch a video from the legendary performance and if you have some spare cash (a lot of spare cash) maybe you can be a part of this history too.  And if you want to catch the legendary performer in person, there are still tickets available for his show at the XPoNential Music Festival this summer.


Dawes touring with Bob Dylan this spring; playing Newark, DE and Bethlehem in April

Dawes_NoahAbramsXPN favorites Dawes just announced a run of spring tour dates opening for the legendary Bob Dylan, all surrounding the April 9th release of their latest full-length Stories Don’t End. They will play the University of Delaware in Newark on April 12th and the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem on April 18th. And even though there are no dates in Philly proper yet, we have it on very good authority that local crowds will be hearing some live music from Dawes on their radio very soon. Below, watch an in-the-studio with Dawes documentary that premiered on Paste Magazine this afternoon, and listen to their set from XPoNential Music Festival in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).


Interview: Solving rock and roll puzzles with Debbie Gold of Rediscover Jigsaw Puzzles

With so much of our life’s activities spent playing virtual games, it’s refreshing to know that gaming still exists in real time and real life. This is where XPN member and business woman Debbie Gold comes in. Gold is the founder and owner of Gold Standard Games, a company that released the highly successful Grateful Deadopoly in 2009. Following up on Deadopoly, Gold just launched Rediscover Puzzles, the first volume in a series of classic album cover jigsaw puzzles. That’s right: good old fashioned, old school jigsaw puzzles; and these are cool. The concept is simple: take both sides of an iconic album cover and turn them into high quality, double sided, 300 piece, 16″ X 16″ sized puzzles. For the first volume, Gold nailed some pretty heavy classics including David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Late For The Sky by Jackson Browne, the Grateful Dead’s Aoxomoxoa, At Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love, Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Nirvana’s Nevermind and Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones.

Gold is an uber music fan who has been in music business for many years. She produced Bob Dylan’s 1992 album Good As I Been To You and has worked closely with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen. Born in Mt. Airy, she spent her young teen years in Wyncote and went to Cheltenham High School. Two years into college, her life took a quick turn into the deep ends of rock and roll and the music business. The Key caught up with Gold via e-mail. Continue reading →


Dylanadelphia: A trip into Philadelphia’s live music scene with the songs of Bob Dylan (playing Wells Fargo Center tonight)

Photo by Daniel Kramer
The endlessly infulential folk-rock progenitor Bob Dylan is in Philadelphia tonight, playing a concert at the Wells Fargo Center in support of his new full-length record Tempest. This afternoon, we’ll take a look at Dylan playing at one of the most storied moments in Philadelphia live music history – the Live Aid concert in 1985, where he, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones sang “Blowin’ In The Wind” to a cheering JFK Stadium. We’ll also highlight some of the artists who covered Dylan when they came to town, from Bruce Springsteen at The Main Point in 1975 to The Frames at the TLA just a couple years ago. For tickets and more information on tonight’s concert, check out XPN’s concert calendar (powered by The Swollen Fox).

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Just Announced: Folkadelphia presents Angel Olsen, Meg Baird and Brendan Codey at Studio 34 on 11/13

XPN2′s Folkadelphia just announced its latest showcase on November 13th featuring Chicago’s Angel Olsen; Philly artists Meg Baird and Brendan Codey to be held at Studio 34. Olsen, formerly of Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Cairo Gang band, just released her first full-length LP, Half Way Home in September to critical acclaim. Baird also collaborated with Billy’s Cairo Gang, and her 2011 record Seasons on Earth, was well received by critics, with NPR putting her in a league among Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. Codey, whose EPs and singles are available digitally and as limited-edition cassettes, has had his music described as “a meditative hailstorm, placing the listener right in the eye of the storm looking out” by the Deli Magazine-Philly. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $8.00 in advance; more information can be found here. Watch Olsen’s new video for “Acrobat” below.


Listen to the new single from Bob Dylan on NPR Music (playing Wells Fargo Center in November)

Tempest, Bob Dylan‘s 35th studio album (!) is being released on September 11, and his fall tour brings him to the Wells Fargo Center on November 19. Today NPR Music premiered the first single from Tempest, a twangy and shuffling tune called “Duquesne Whistle.” NPR’s Ann Powers writes:

The music starts faintly, as if in a vintage pleasure palace, with the band — the stalwarts who’ve played with Dylan for a while and join him on the Never-Ending Tour — playing rock and roll ragtime off in the corner. The electric guitars sound almost like clarinets. Everybody’s swinging! But what’s that in the distance? Dylan himself unleashes the rubbery guitar chord change that repeats for the rest of the song, sounding just like a locomotive blast. Is he hopping that thing? Is somebody he loves on it? Both are possible.

Listen to “Duquesne Whistle” here. Tickets for Dylan’s Wells Fargo show go on sale on Friday, September 14.