Okay, not actually with Dylan, in person…but this winter, I was very honored to be part of a month-long production of Long Time Gone, Words and Music by Bob Dylan in the great town of New Haven, Conn. I was joined onstage by Guy Davis, the respected blues musician from New York and Peter Landecker, the producer and creator of the show.
The best way to describe the show is that it is (in Peter’s words) a theatrical biography of Dylan in two acts. Two-thirds of the show is his music, performed mostly by Guy Davis and myself, and the remaining third was in the form of monologues and interviews, performed by Landecker. We had an incredible time, with many unforgettable and special nights, surrounded by a truly great community in New Haven. I feel like I have a new family and a little like I have a new hometown.
Dylan has long been a hero of mine (duh), but it was such a luxury to be immersed in his material night after night, discovering new metaphors and allusions in songs that were already so familiar. For example, “Idiot Wind” has always been a powerful song to me, but before having to sing it a thousand times to learn it, I never fully recognized the sentimental unwinding at the close of the song — how the singer stops pointing the finger and shares the responsibility of the failed relationship.
Also luxurious was the experience of becoming friends with the incredible community that gathers around the hearth of Lyric Hall in Westville. John Cavaliere, our incredible host each night, teaches everyone he meets the meaning of hospitality and making one’s daily work a work of art – and most importantly, he doesn’t teach this with words. Muffy, JoAnne, Thea, Anne, Frank, Gar, Matthew – I am so grateful to you and your artistic souls. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives and your homes and for making New Haven feel very much like home while I was there. I can’t wait to return – as long as there are no more blizzards!