Bob Dylan performing at Grammy Awards 2011
Bob Dylan closes the circle with artists who modernize folk and American roots music at the Grammys
UPDATED – When I read the news Bob Dylan was performing at the 2011 Grammy Awards, I winced.
Dylan has never acquitted himself well at these award shows, except when he tapes ahead of time.
Last night’s performance was an awesome exception. Instead of killing the show with 8 minutes from one segment, Dylan and his fellow performers held you.
It was probably because Bob Dylan kept the spot-light on Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers in the Bob Dylan traveling minstrel show.
It was like we had gone back to 1975 / 76 with The Rolling Thunder Review.
The scene was set when the camera panned over to the Dylanesque stage with Mumford and Sons.
The 1900’s stage with incandescent footlights and velvet curtains is a stage Dylan likes to return to regularly.
Mumford and Sons tore into The Cave with wild abandon. The stage for new and old folk music was set as they rushed headlong.
The Avett Brothers started at slow pace but soon were “folk” rocking their way through Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise. The Avett Brothers release I and Love and You is on special today at iTunes for Valentine’s Day.
Both bands sounded energetic and fresh like Dylan did ripping through his performances in the 1960s.
Everyone joined Dylan as he ripped into Maggie’s Farm as a sing-along. Dylan’s voice is now the one he aspired to all his life, an aged blues artist.
He growled “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more” and perhaps he hasn’t like the rest of us.
Apart from all the critics who say Dylan should stop singing – hey that’s a new suggestion – the performance was pure Dylan – upsetting the night’s agenda of star power and glitz. Dylan took the audience back to roots music and shared his stage with young musicians who take up the torch.
Dylan, despite all his flights of lyric, was a bridge from the past of folk music and blues. Taking 8 minutes of Grammy Time to showcase Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers was bridging his music to the future.
Grammys 2001 – Best Peformances – “Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan Two up-and-coming folk rock acts performed a set with one of the genre’s most legendary singers. Sure, Dylan’s voice is even scratchier and raspier than it once was, but the banjo-heavy back-up music to his rendition of “Maggie’s Farm” showed that his songs can still sound fresh and new, even decades after they were first released.” The Atlantic
Bob Dylan, the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons Class Up the Joint – Then it was time for the legend himself, Bob Dylan, to stroll out without an instrument, only to have members of his band and the two opening acts close ranks behind him and join on his classic ‘Maggie’s Farm.’ Now it can’t be said that Dylan’s voice was smooth or clear; what will be debated for days is whether this is the state he’s reduced to, a bad day or how he wants to sound. Regardless, his harmonica solo kicked a—. Taste of Country
MUMFORD & SONS from Bob Lefsetz
MUMFORD & SONS
Energy, passion, authenticity. Those are the keys to musical success, never forget it! The performance is not perfect, which is why it works so well. Play to tape at your peril. Hard drives are for pussies.
Wrong song for television. Start off with energy. Slow and meaningful only works when the audience is in a dark theatre and is forced to focus on you. Now the song has sped up and revealed that…it’s just not good enough. Good exposure, but no home run.
Funny, everybody in America is willing to work on Maggie’s Farm. Yup, the plantation of the rich elite who pay ever fewer taxes as they oppress the rest of us. I wonder why there’s no revolt here.
Meanwhile, the “Wall Street Journal” had it right, Dylan can no longer sing, he should hang it up. Greatest songwriter of the rock generation (well, maybe that’s Joni Mitchell, and the Beatles are in their own category, but when it comes to lyrics…), but this endless victory lap has got to stop. Embarrassing.
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