Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's No Secret, I'm Expecting Rain

It's no secret that Spring here in the Northland a special time of year, but this year is even more so, if such were possible. You can experience it yourself if you keep your antennae up so as to catch the vibes on everything that's happening.

Expecting Rain
When you see the words "expecting rain" at Ennyman's Territory, you have to assume I'm referring to the kind of rain that brings nourishment. The nourishment I'm referring to is the kind that nourishes the soul. If you're a Dylan fan, then you know I'm referring to ExpectingRain.com, a website devoted to everything Bob.

I mention it this morning because it's a lot like manna, fresh every morning with new stories, news and links to endless oceans of information. Yesterday there was a link to a really interesting examination of Dylan's Jokerman, opening cut of his Infidels album. Many of his songs, like Changing of the Guard and Desolation Row, are lyrical labyrinths, but continuously rewarding when explored. (Don't forget to bring Ariadne's thread.) Jokerman is one of these, examined here by poet Damian Balassone. (Not to be confused with the decorated WW2 hero Johnny Bassilone.)

Expecting Rain is not only a compendium of articles about Dylan, it is a great way to stay current with where in the world Dylan is performing these days, including the first notifications regarding availability of tickets. And it's a way to stay in touch with important Dylan-related events. In May, both Hibbing and Duluth will once again be embracing Dylan Days. People have come from all over the world to celebrate his contributions to music and the arts.

One of the things probably missing here in Duluth is a central focal point for fans, much as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is for the rock 'n roll world. In an effort to make this happen, a small but growing group of committed individuals has been laboring to raise funds to renovate the Armory where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper played their second-last concert, with young Robert Zimmerman in the audience.

Such a project has many components, one of them simply being to raise awareness and get public buy-in. In an effort to keep the Armory renovation in our thoughts, the Armory Arts & Music Center is pleased to present two legendary performers, famed violinist Scarlet Rivera and special guest Gene LaFond & The Wild Unknown on the Weber Hall Music stage in Duluth, MN. The concert is called Desire In Duluth, as Scarlet's violin contributed significantly to Dylan's sound in his Desire album, which featured the stellar Hurricane. Scarlet's career in music has spanned many genres, from rock to jazz (she performed with Duke Ellington's orchestra at Carnegie Hall) to world music and even Celtic sounds.

Gene LaFond was annually a personal guest of Dylan's for fifteen years, beginning with that Rolling Thunder Revue Tour up to the release of Oh Mercy. So many great songs were penned throughout that period is feels almost incomprehensible that LaFond, with Dylan's school chum Larry Kegan, had the opportunity to be part of it all. LaFond and Kegan co-founded a group called The Mere Mortals, of which we all are I suppose. (Mortals, that is.) Even Bob's a mortal, but my guess is that his songs will be around for a very long time. Gene's stories about making music with Dylan, or just being part of the entourage, are too numerous for this brief blog account.

The long and short of it is this... If you want to experience a great concert, Desire in Duluth will be the one show you won't want to miss, Friday May 18. Bottom line: I'm hoping I'll see you there.

As for other Spring happenings, it's time to start planning for the Twin Ports Gallery Progressive, April 19 and 21. It's a gallery hop with 16 Northland galleries and countless local artists. This is not to be missed, and I will tell you more about it in the week ahead.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Get into it.

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