Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

John Cohen: ‘I’m drowning in my past’

John Cohen  (Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)

John Cohen (Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)

I got the chance recently to spend an hour or so talking to John Cohen, one of the legendary figures of the musical and artistic scene of Greenwich Village in the 1960s, for The Journal News/lohud.com.

Cohen, the founder of the New Lost City Ramblers is still making music — now with a trio of much younger musical traditionalists in the Down Hill Strugglers — promoting his documentary films, working creating a cultural center in his hometown of Putnam Valley, New York, and preparing to start painting again.

The 82-year-old says he has explored so many ways of expressing his creativity over the years that “I’m drowning in my past.”

Check out the full interview online at lohud.com by tapping or clicking here. Or pick up a copy of the Tuesday, March 10, edition of The Journal News.

New collection skims the cream of Caffè Lena’s rich musical history


Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013 is slated for release on Sept. 24.

A review of Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013, with buying and streaming links after the jump

I’ve always meant to visit the legendary Caffè Lena, the tiny coffeehouse at 47 Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Devonsquare, the sweet-harmonizing folk-rock trio, first piqued my curiosity about Lena and Bill Spencer’s cafe (or caffè, as they dubbed it, using two f’s) with their song “Caffè Lena” on the  1987 album Walking on Ice.

Caffè Lena was a place of mythical proportions to me then. For one reason or another, I never found myself in Saratoga Springs.

After all, I live close to The Turning Point in Piermont, N.Y., a music cafe that is, while 16 years younger than Caffè Lena, has a similar mission and musical profile.

And then there was the Towne Crier in Pawling, N.Y.,  from 1972 until closing in June with plans to reopen soon in Beacon. That gave me a backup option just a bit farther afield than The Turning Point.

So  I never got myself motivated sufficiently to make the trek to Saratoga Springs.

I should have known I was missing out. And now the Tompkins Square record label has  shoved into my face some very real evidence of exactly how much I’ve missed. Continue reading

Americanarama Festival of Music: Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket in Bridgeport, Conn.

Bob Dylan at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., on July 19, 2013.(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Bob Dylan gets sassy on the harmonica. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Nothing compares to your first time

When Bob Dylan hit the stage of the Webster Bank Arena on Friday night, July 19, I reached a major milestone.

It was my first time seeing the legend perform live.

Yes, you might think that given the underlying theme of this blog, I would have seen him before — probably many times.

Bob Dylan at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., on July 19, 2013.(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Bob Dylan spent plenty of time playing the grand piano. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Sure, I treasure his music. I have many of his albums. A friend and neighbor of mine managed him once, way back before Albert Grossman hooked up with him.

But Dylan was playing arenas by the time I learned to care about him. And I just don’t like arena shows, the distance, the impersonality, the commercialism.

But when I saw the lineup for this summer’s touring Americanarama Festival of Music, I decided it was time to make an exception so that I could finally see Dylan. I figured that even if Bob was awful, I’d be able to cross him off my bucket list and still get plenty of value out of Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Continue reading

The Dough Rollers defy expectations at Brooklyn Bowl

The Dough Rollers, Brooklyn Bowl, June 26, 2013, © 2013, Steven P. Marsh

The Dough Rollers perform at Brooklyn Bowl on June 26, 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We don’t mind change. We may grow to love a band’s sound, but if it never evolves, a band can quickly becomes a parody of itself.

The Dough Rollers started off in 2008 as a high-concept conceit cooked up by two celebrity kids. Malcolm Ford (son of Harrison Ford) and Jack Byrne (son of Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin) bonded over the love of old blues music, and started playing together. Their act — two guys in sharp, retro outfits, hair slicked back, etc. — tried to replicate the classic sound of the blues. While the two of them were the core of the group, they often had fiddle-vocalist Julia Tepper as a co-conspirator. (She joined them on their first, and so far only, album, the self-titled disc.)

The Dough Rollers in their earlier incarnation at The Bell House in Brooklyn, April 24, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

The Dough Rollers in their earlier incarnation at The Bell House in Brooklyn, April 24, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Few acts could sustain the conceit. Leon Redbone is the only one that springs to mind at the moment, and his whole performing life is in character.

Click through to the jump for more photos and info. Continue reading

The unknown Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan or homeless man?

Bob Dylan or homeless man?

Can you believe that Bob Dylan was mistaken for a homeless man on the streets of Long Branch, N.J.?

The crazy story, in which a cop swept the eccentric singer-songerwriter off the street into a patrol car, is reported by ABCNews.com’s Chris Francescani:

Dylan, 68, one of the most celebrated, eccentric artists in American history, was in the area on July 23 as part of a national concert tour — a fact lost on 24-year-old Long Branch police officer Kristie Buble.

To hear the young New Jersey police officer describe it, the scene was like something out of one of Dylan’s epic song-poems: It was pouring rain, Dylan was soaked and wandering alone, far from the traveling home of his entourage of tour buses.

When Dylan wandered into the yard of a home that had a “For Sale” sign on it, the home’s occupants became spooked by his appearance and called police with a report of an “eccentric-looking old man” in their yard, Long Branch Police said. One of the occupants even went so far as to follow Dylan as he continued on down the street.

To read the whole, wacky story, click here.