Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

9Sep/101

Contest: Win a copy of the new book Bob Dylan in America

I found myself at Classic Park in Eastlake last summer, the result of a last minute chance to catch Bob Dylan's summer tour with John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.  Like capturing a lightning bug in a bottle, I had been on a semi-quest for a few years, hoping to experience that sometimes elusive yet often rumored "great" Bob Dylan show.  And on that night in Eastlake, Dylan had the mojo of 86 blues men working for him, even though I needed a translator to navigate my way through figuring out exactly what song he was singing at certain points.

Dylan has been a constant curiosity for me since I was a kid - as someone who is revered for all that he has done in the past, all of the trails that he has blazed and the walls that he continues to knock down with new albums that are still surprisingly relevant, resonating with multiple generations of music fans.

If you're curious to know how all of this came to pass, you'll be very interested in Bob Dylan in America, the new book from American historian Sean Wilentz.  While there are plenty of Dylan books already out in the marketplace, Wilentz has unique knowledge on the subject as the official "historian-in-residence" for BobDylan.com.  Hearing the story of how he got that gig might be worth the price of admission by itself, but that's only getting into the first few pages of the book!  The book presents an interesting account of  Dylan's career through the years from the earliest moments to present day and connects the impact of Dylan's music on American culture.  This is a very different kind of Bob Dylan book and after you read it, you'll be glad that you did.

Bob Dylan in America hit stores earlier this week and I've got five copies of the book to give away to lucky ATV readers.  If you'd like the chance to win one, send me a note here with Bob Dylan as the subject line.  Good luck!  (And if you'd like some advance reading, you can check out a sample chapter of the book here.)

P.S. - Here's a few heavy hitter endorsements for the book:

“Unlike so many Dylan-writer-wannabes and phony ‘encyclopedia’ compilers, Sean Wilentz makes me feel he was in the room when he chronicles events that I participated in. Finally a breath of fresh words founded in hardcore, intelligent research.”
Al Kooper

“A panoramic vision of Bob Dylan, his music, his shifting place in American culture, from multiple angles. In fact, reading Sean Wilentz’s Bob Dylan in America is as thrilling and surprising as listening to a great Dylan song.”
Martin Scorsese

“This should have been impossible. Writing about Bob Dylan's music, and fitting it into the great crazy quilt of American culture, Sean Wilentz sews a whole new critical fabric, part history, part close analysis, and all heart. What he writes, as well as anyone ever has, helps us enlarge Dylan's music by reckoning its roots, its influences, its allusive spiritual contours. This isn't Cliff Notes or footnotes or any kind of academic exercise. It's not a critic chinning on the high bar. It's one artist meeting another, kick starting a dazzling conversation.”
Jay Cocks, screenwriter for THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and THE GANGS OF NEW YORK