April 20, 2009
The press is aflame regarding Bob Dylan's soon to be released new album Together Through Life. In a recent five-part interview with music critic Bill Flanagan Dylan talks about song writing, songwriters, and reveals that (nine) of the songs on the album were co-written with Robert Hunter. What more perfect confluence of poetical writing on love and pain could there be? All parts of the interview are now all available on the official Dylan site www.bobdylan.com/
Ben Ratliff in an amazing three page color, illustrated article appearing in the April 12th Sunday issue of the NY Times entitled "Bring Out Your Dead" discusses the five different levels of how fans talk about the Grateful Dead. There are those who discuss the band's commercially released albums, those that get into the period or eras, and those that focus on the band's best night, or on particular songs from particular performances. Ratliff then gets to "thinner air" where he says discussion goes to audience vs. soundboard tapes, the mixing bias of engineers, and onward into what he calls "the darkness of obsession." But truly mesmerizing are the online comments from fans that, in response to the article, have voted for their greatest shows and submitted their photos. It's an extraordinary outpouring; find it at "The Dead Live On." nytimes.com/music.
Periodically the San Francisco Chronicle re-runs some of Herb Caen's old columns. A really good one appeared in the April 2nd, 2009 issue. (Catch it at SFGate.com.) Originally from February 5, 1967, Caen retells lounging at the corner of Fifth and Mish when Further pulls up and Ken Kesey flashing his American flagged front tooth, invites him to climb aboard. (BTW rumor has it that Santa Cruz dentist Dr. Richard J. Smith dentally did the tooth decoration.)
This season's Cabrillo Music Festival of Contemporary Music -- American's preeminent contemporary music festival, which makes its home right here in Santa Cruz, CA.-- opens with the theme of One World. And one extraordinary highlight will be a special benefit concert "Sugar Magnolia: An Orchestral Tribute to the Grateful Dead" featuring Lee Johnson's Dead Symphony No.6. The concert along with a post concert Q & A with the composer and authors Dennis McNally and David Gans, is on the special day of August 9th. The festival is conducted and directed by Maestra Marin Alsop and runs from August 2nd to the 16th. UCSC will be offering Grateful Dead Archive events during the same week so stay tuned for more information.
For anyone who likes statistics (and we know Deadheads do!!) the article "A Grateful Dead Analysis: The Relationship Between Concert and Listening Behavior" will be like numerical manna. Written by Marko A. Rodriquez, Vadas Gintautas and Alberto Pepe, the article appears in First Monday: the Peer Reviewed Journal of the Internet Vol. 14, No. 1 January 5, 2009. It presents an analysis of the Grateful Dead's concert behavior and exposes a relationship between the concert song patterns from 1972 to 1995 and the last.fm listening statistics of the band's songs from August 2005 to October 2007. It's a scientific inquiry with technical evidence that will have enduring appeal for nerdheads.