“I think of myself as a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.” (Bob Dylan)
Just as he’s done for more than five decades, Bob Dylan is still releasing new albums (the latest is “Shadows in the Night,” a mellow collection of standards recorded live with his five-piece band), performing around the world with his Never Ending Tour, and receiving more honors and accolades (2015 MusiCares Person of the Year).
To promote “Shadows in the Night” he gave only one interview — to AARP Magazine, where he discussed his creative process and influences, revealing that he’s a big Shakespeare fan, and had he not become “Bob Dylan,” he would have liked to have been “a schoolteacher of Roman history or theology.”
When receiving his MusiCares award, he delivered a riveting acceptance speech crediting his sources of inspiration, thanking his various and sundry supporters, and even confronting his detractors. To those who would criticize his singing voice, he reminded them of what Sam Cooke said when told he had a beautiful voice:
Well that’s very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.
The voice of our generation — plain, real, everyman — endures. We need to hear and will always value the hard truths good poets tell.
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