People sometimes seem surprised that Bob Dylan looks more and more as a country artist, but they forget that country and folk were essentially the same genre once, and rock’n roll began as the rockabilly side of country. Bob Dylan’s connection to country music should not be a surprise to anyone.
“Even at a young age, I identified with Hank Williams. I’d never seen a robin weep but could imagine it and it made me sad. When he sang ‘the news is out, all over town’ I knew what that was, even though I didn’t know. When he died it was like a great tree had fallen. Hearing about Hank’s death caught me squarely at the shoulder. The silence of outer space never seemed so loud.” – Bob Dylan
I have picked my favourite country versions of his songs, some I found only audio of. Some of the songs are by other artists and some are collaborations between Bob Dylan and other artists.
“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine . . . I must have recited those lines to myself a million times. Johnny’s voice was so big it made the world grow small.” – Bob Dylan
10. Kris Kristofferson – Quinn the eskimo, from the recently released Chimes Of Freedom in honor of 50 years of Amnesty International, wonderful and rough version:
9. Every grain of sand – Emmylou Harris, from her album Wrecking Ball (1995) my favourite Emmylou album.
Emmylou Harris live May 24 2016:
8. It Ain’t Me, Babe – Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, released on Orange Blossom Special in 1965. We have chosen a version from an Australian TV-show in 1973:
Americana is an amalgam of roots music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and other external influences. Americana, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.”
A while ago I did a post on my top 10 country versions of Bob Dylan songs (soon to be updated), since then I’ve been made aware of a lot more songs from people who read the original post. Then most of my pickings where of classic country leaning on outlaw country, in this post I will concentrate on the new generation of country/ alt. country.
Here are 13 favourite Bob Dylan songs performed by Americana artists. Lets start with a great live version:
Bobby Long & John Fullbright – It’s Not Dark Yet:
What a wonderful sound and such a great performance. These guys are just so good!